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Hugging a Pillow

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining inside the uterus, begins to grow outside the uterus. This misplaced tissue can be found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, the outer surface of the uterus, and other organs within the pelvis. Endometriosis is inflammatory condition with components of immune dysfunction. This condition is actually relatively common and affects 10 percent of reproductive age women, and up to 50% of those experiencing infertility. 

 

Common symptoms include: 

 

Chronic Pain

Painful urination/ bowel movements 

Frequent urination 

painful periods/ ovulation

Heavy periods 

Painful intercourse  

Infertility 

Digestive disorders

Fatigue 

Depression 

 

 

Can you have endometriosis without knowing?

 

While some women experience severe pain and a full range of symptoms, others might have mild symptoms or none at all, this is often referred to as ‘silent endometriosis’. Despite this variability, endometriosis is a leading cause of infertility. Unfortunately it is also under diagnosed, due to the cost and invasive nature of diagnosis such as a laparoscopy,  which is why the average time it takes to receive a diagnosis is 7.5 years!

 

How can endometriosis affect fertility? 

 

Endometriosis can affect fertility in multiple ways. Hormonal imbalances can impact egg quality, ovulation, and implantation. Other factors such as anatomical distortions, adhesions, scar tissue, inflammation, immune system dysfunction, chronic infections like chronic endometritis, and higher miscarriage rates also contribute to reduced fertility. 

 

It is important to note that whilst endometriosis can affect fertility, 7/10 of those with mild to moderate staged endometriosis will conceive naturally. 

 

 

How Acupuncture Can Help

 

Pain relief 

 

For women with endometriosis, acupuncture can be particularly beneficial in managing pain. Research suggests that acupuncture can help reduce the intensity and frequency of pelvic pain associated with endometriosis by promoting the release of endorphins and improving blood flow to the pelvic area.

 

Reducing Inflammation

 

Endometriosis is often accompanied by inflammation, which can exacerbate pain and other symptoms. Acupuncture has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, helping to reduce the inflammatory response in the body. By targeting specific acupuncture points, the treatment can help lower inflammation levels, providing relief from some of the discomforts of endometriosis.

 

Balancing Hormones

 

Hormonal imbalances play a significant role in the development and progression of endometriosis. Acupuncture can help regulate the endocrine system, promoting hormonal balance. This regulation can be crucial in managing endometriosis symptoms and improving overall reproductive health.

 

Fertility

 

For women with endometriosis who are trying to conceive, acupuncture can be an invaluable tool. By improving blood flow to the reproductive organs, reducing stress, and balancing hormones, acupuncture can support fertility efforts. Many women find that incorporating acupuncture into their fertility treatment can help to reduce symptoms and help them to conceive

 

How often should I have acupuncture for endometriosis?

 

I suggest starting acupuncture with weekly sessions for at least 12 weeks. If your cycles show improvement after this period, you can then reduce the frequency to every two weeks. The benefits of acupuncture build up over time, similar to how a full course of antibiotics is needed for effectiveness—just one or two sessions won’t be enough.

 

This approach enables us to align treatment strategy with your menstrual cycle and address the hormone fluctuations throughout each phase. This also ensures that acupuncture sessions are likely to coincide with times when you experience pain, providing relief when you need it most.

 

 

 

Resources 

 

Effects of acupuncture for the treatment of endometriosis-related pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis - PubMed

 

The neuroimmune basis of anti-inflammatory acupuncture - PubMed

 

 

How Does Endometriosis Affect Fertility?

 

Zijlstra FJ et al. Anti-inflammatory actions of acupuncture. Mediators Inflamm 2003 ;12: 59-69.

 

Zhao ZQ. Neural mechanism underlying acupuncture analgesia.

Prog Neurobiol 2008 ;85: 355-75.

 

 

Sun YZ, Chen HL. [Controlled study on Shu-Mu point combination for treatment of endometriosis].

Zhongguo Zhen Jiu 2006; 26(12):

863-5.

 

Xia T. Effect of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine in Treating Endometriosis.

International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture 2006; 15(3): 145-50.

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