In the United States, endometriosis affects around two to twenty-two percent of women. This number spikes to forty to sixty percent if they also suffer from dysmenorrhea (painful menses).
Endometriosis tends to be a longstanding (chronic) condition. It occurs when cells from the endometrial tissue (uterus lining) develop outside the uterus. The pelvic cavity is where the endometrial tissue is found (i.e., on the bowels), although it can also grow to other parts of the body. The endometrial cells outside the uterine wall also react to the hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle in the same way as the cells in the wall which leads to pain, inflammation, and bleeding.
Some women with endometriosis do not know they have one or have very mild symptoms of it. However, others experience fertility problems, heavy bleeding, painful copulation, and mild to severe pain.
Treatment of endometriosis using the Western medicine approach means the use of NSAIDS, hormone treatments (oral contraceptives), or surgery via laparoscopy. Management of endometriosis-related pain is usually insufficient and there is no known cure for endometriosis at the moment.
Acupuncture and Endometriosis
A study conducted on endometriosis and acupuncture has shown that after the first 10 acupuncture treatments women experienced a significant relief of the severity of their pain. Past research efforts also reveal that electroacupuncture can effectively alleviate dysmenorrhea associated with endometriosis and that Japanese style acupuncture can work as a well-tolerated and safe adjunct treatment for endometriosis-induced pelvic pain.
In the treatment of dysmenorrhea, acupuncture has also been shown to be highly efficient.
Endometriosis, from the perspective of Chinese Medicine, is considered mainly an issue related to Blood Stagnation combined with certain associated pathologies (Qi deficiency, Cold, Heat, etc.).
The goal of acupuncture is to relieve the pain, remove the Blood stagnation and normalize the menstrual cycle.
The treatment is very much connected to the menstrual cycle of the woman especially, just after the periods or the time during the periods.
Acupuncture treatment is meant to treat the whole individual; other imbalances are also addressed during the treatment which implies that each patient will have a customized and unique plan of treatment.
The length of treatment will depend a lot from one person to the next, as is often the case with acupuncture. But for endometriosis, the course of treatment may require regular treatment on a longer term compared to other conditions, which, at least, is around three to nine months.