Acupuncture for endometriosis
Endometriosis is a common condition estimated to effect as many as 1 in 10 women in the UK. Despite being almost as common as diabetes, it is much less talked about and is under diagnosed by doctors (the average wait for diagnosis in the UK is 7.5 years), which has left many women suffering in silence.
Research is encouraging for the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of endometriosis, but so far most of the studies have been small due to lack of funds. A recent study carried out among a cohort of Australian women with endometriosis, found that participants receiving acupuncture over 8 weeks recorded a 48% drop in self recorded pain levels. The control group received no intervention and recorded a small increase in their pelvic pain over the same period. The researchers are recruiting for a much larger survey, we will look out for the results.
Acupuncture for endometriosis and infertility
Endometriosis can cause reduced fertility. Women with moderate to severe endometriosis are sometimes advised to seek IVF in order to improve their chances of conception. Unfortunately the hormonal medication often used to control the symptoms of endometriosis also acts as a contraceptive.
At Islington Acupuncture we are committed to offering effective alternatives to the limited choices of conventional medicine offered to women with endometriosis.
What is endometriosis?
- It is where tissue like that in the lining of the womb grows elsewhere in the body – often around the reproductive organs, bowel and bladder.
- Like the womb lining, the tissue builds up and bleeds every month, but with no way to escape the body, the blood is trapped, leading to inflammation, pain and formation of scar tissue.
- There is no cure, but a combination of hormone therapy and pain killers can reduce symptoms for some women.
- Surgery is option, but unfortunately the condition can return a few years later, eventually hysterectomy may be advised.
How do you know if you have endometriosis?
The only definitive test is a laparoscopy to confirm the presence of endometrial tissue outside of the uterus. However, it has distinctive symptoms and if you have 2 or 3 of those listed below, you may have the condition. Period pain is part of the picture, but the range of symptoms shows that endometriosis is a more complex disease and is felt at different times throughout the cycle.
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
- Pain in your lower abdomen or back – usually worse during your period but also at other times in the cycle.
- Period pain that stops you doing your normal activities
- Pain during or after sex (estimated to occur in 75% of women with endometriosis)
- Pain when peeing or pooing during your period
- Feeling sick, constipation, diarrhoea, or blood in your pee during your period
- difficulty getting pregnant
- Very heavy periods with flooding
Acupuncture for endometriosis:
Some researchers in China have compared the effects of electro acupuncture, to western painkillers for endometriosis. They found that both methods reduced pain, with slightly more reduction in the acupuncture group. Interestingly the women were reviewed after one year, and the recurrence rate was significantly lower in the acupuncture group. This suggests that rather than just masking pain, acupuncture may reduce the root cause of the pain.
At Islington Acupuncture we take a full case history from you and design a personalised treatment strategy. This will involve acupuncture, but also maybe electro-acupuncture, massage, yoga exercises, dietary advice and herbal medicine.
Here are some helpful articles we found about endometriosis:
Emma Barnet talks about her experience of living with endometriosis on BBC Radio 5
Recent research conducted by the BBC found that endometriosis affects one in 10 women and on average, it takes seven and a half years to diagnose in the UK read more on the BBC website