Endometriosis is defined as functional endometrial tissue that is located outside the uterus. It is estimated that between 5-10 of women of reproductive age will have some endometriosis. In infertile women, the incidence jumps to 30%. Most cases of endometriosis are diagnosed in women aged 25-35 years, although the symptoms may be present from the start of puberty.
A laparotomy or laparoscopy is often used to assess any lesions consistent with endometriosis. A biopsy is then taken to confirm it is endometrial tissue. Symptoms vary from women to women, but often include:
- Pelvic pain
- Painful periods
- Low back pain during period
- Pain at ovulation
- Pain on defecating or urinating
- Painful intercourse
The reason for endometriosis in western medicine still remain unclear. In Chinese medicine, endometriosis can be caused by liver blood stasis, stagnation by cold or dampness, Kidney yin or yang deficiency or a blood deficiency. Women are never found to fall neatly into one of these categories, instead, they tend to be a mix of two or more.
There are essentially two types of patterns here, stagnation or deficiency. A deficiency can also lead to stagnation. Stagnation in the uterus can initiate the body's healing response, which causes certain cells in the immune system to try and remove all the stagnation of blood.
Acupuncture for endometriosis
A common symptom of endometriosis is pain. Acupuncture is well known for it's ability to relieve pain, including endometriosis type pain.
Acupuncture is able to help relieve endometriosis pain by regulating hormones, thereby normalising the menstrual cycle and by regulating blood flow in the uterus, which helps to reduce blodo stasis, which causes the pain.
Other therapies used with acupuncture inclduing moxibustion and heat therapy can be used alongside acupuncture to increase the pain relieving treatment.
Various research studies have proven the pain relieving effects of acupuncture for endometriosis.
Is acupuncture in addition to conventional medicine effective as pain treatment for endometriosis? Rubi-Klein, Katharina et al. European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology , Volume 153 , Issue 1 , 90 - 93
Japanese-Style Acupuncture for Endometriosis-Related Pelvic Pain in Adolescents and Young Women: Results of a Randomized Sham-Controlled Trial. Wayne, Peter M. et al. Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology , Volume 21 , Issue 5 , 247 - 257