Acupuncture for Endometriosis Pain and Fertility
There is now an accumulating body of research supporting the use of acupuncture to reduce pain and other symptoms in women with endometriosis. Many of these studies also report significant improvements in quality of life outcomes in women using acupuncture compared to those not given acupuncture (Giese & Heirs, 2022).
Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus, causing pain during menstruation, infertility, and other issues. Endometriosis affects around 10% of women in western countries and around one in nine women in Australia. Many affected women suffer significant impairment to their quality of life.
Endometriosis can present differently in different people. For some, constant pelvic pain has become part of everyday life. However, others may be unaware that they have endometriosis until they have a pelvic scan.
Some of the symptoms that may indicate endometriosis are:
- Painful periods
- Pain on or near ovulation
- Pain during or after intercourse
- Fertility issues, including difficulty with conception
- General pelvic pain
- Periods are heavy, and clots may be present
- Loss of blood before a period that appears ‘old’ or dark rather than bright red
- Pain with bowel movements or when passing urine
- Back pain and or leg pain
- Tiredness, depression or lack of energy
Medical treatment for endometriosis includes medication for pain relief, hormonal therapy, and surgery. These treatments are usually successful; however symptoms often recur after treatment ceases (Giese & Heirs 2022).
Wang et al. reported on the efficacy of acupuncture in treating endometriosis-related pelvic pain in their 2013 meta-analysis. They concluded that acupuncture was effective in reducing dysmenorrhea (pain during menstruation) and dyspareunia (pain during intercourse), as well as improving quality of life. The authors conclude that acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for endometriosis-related pain. Many authors have confirmed these findings since then, including Kobayashi et al. in their 2017 meta-analysis. Improvement in endometriosis symptoms will also assist with increasing levels of fertility in affected women.
Many researchers studying acupuncture for various health conditions struggle with the fact that acupuncturists sometimes use different acupuncture points for clients. As qualified and experienced acupuncturists, we understand the importance of individualised treatment. For example, clients who present with endometriosis often have very different symptom presentations and addressing these on an individual basis will get the best results from your acupuncture treatment.
In summary, there is an increasing amount of research confirming the positive effects of acupuncture for endometriosis, both for those trying to conceive and for those looking to control symptoms and improve quality of life.
The acupuncturists at Well2 have a special interest in working with clients experiencing endometriosis, fertility issues and IVF clients.
You can read more about our acupuncturists here
For bookings phone 8362 6622 or book online here
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Endometriosis-UK (n.d.) https://www.endometriosis-uk.org/symptoms
Giese, N. and Heirs, M. (2022) Development of Provisional Acupuncture Guidelines for Pelvic Pain in Endometriosis Using an e-Delphi Consensus Process. Journal of Integrative and Complementary Medicine 28 Nov 2022 https://doi.org/10.1089/jicm.2022.0659
Kobayashi, K., Nishikawa, H., & Miyazaki, M. (2017). Acupuncture for endometriosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 17(1), 612.
Wang, Y., Shi, Y., Liu, G., et al. (2013). Acupuncture treatment for endometriosis-related pelvic pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, 11(1), 44.