Acupuncture, a more natural treatment for endometriosis
What is Endometriosis?
If you are reading this, chances are that you or someone you care about is searching for a natural treatment option for painful or problematic endometriosis. By definition, endometriosis is invasive and disruptive to normal physiological functioning- endometriosis is the growth of uterine tissue outside of the uterus, often on the ovaries and fallopian tubes, plus the bladder and bowels.
Endometriosis cannot be ignored as it may lead to a host of ongoing health problems including infertility, back and leg pain, ovulation pain, bowel and bladder problems, painful intercourse, plus painful and heavy periods. In our Melbourne clinic, we see so many women suffering from endometriosis without the proper care or support they need, as unfortunately, Western medicine is very limited in its ability to treat or cure endometriosis, without first doing harm.
The symptoms of having endometriosis can be severe to the point of debilitating, where a woman can be so overcome by the pain she cannot get out of bed, let alone get along with her day. According to www.endometriosisaustralia.org, one out of 10 Australian women struggles with endometriosis.
How is endometriosis treated in mainstream Western medicine?
The current western medical treatment options for endometriosis involves minimising pain with drugs such as naproxen and the use of oral contraceptives (synthetic hormones). According to the above-mentioned website, “Medical treatments can be associated with side effects such as spot bleeding, break-through bleeding, bloating, nausea, weight gain and depression. Skin changes (oily or spotty skin) may occur as an elevation in blood pressure.”
In some cases, specialists may recommend surgery or a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), which in and of itself can create more problems and carries a risk of further damage to internal organs. www.endometriosisaustralia.org also mentions that even after surgery that 35% of women experience a re-occurrence of symptoms.
The good news is that there are other treatment options available that may help to reduce the pain and negative effects of endometriosis. This may result in women having easier pregnancies, a better quality of life and even the avoidance of ongoing synthetic hormone use, painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, IUD’s (intra-uterine devices) and surgical intervention.
How can acupuncture and Chinese medicine help my endometriosis?
There is ongoing research to suggest that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can have a positive outcome for women suffering from endometriosis. One systemic review of several clinical trials showed that there was a reduction in pelvic pain associated with endometriosis, and a reduction in serum CA-125 levels which are a biomarker for several types of cancer and benign conditions including endometriosis and menstrual disorders. 1
In addition, research suggests Chinese medicine and acupuncture may be useful in helping to alleviate gastrointestinal Irritable bowel symptoms such as constipation and diarrhoea 2 and pelvic pain 3. Weak or unclear evidence suggests that acupuncture may also be useful for dysmenorrhea (painful periods) and an improved quality of life4 (More good quality evidence is needed for clearer results).
In addition, acupuncture and Chinese medicine could help to address the symptoms of the deeper, often overlooked emotional trauma a chronic condition such as endometriosis can cause. Endometriosis can interfere with a woman’s intimate relationships fertility status, and work and social life, which can trigger a deep resentment and anger towards their condition. This, in turn, may lead to ongoing depression and a feeling of helplessness. Chinese medicine is renowned for having a positive impact on your mental state and emotional well-being, with well-documented stress and anxiety relieving properties. 5
What would my Chinese medicine doctor do to help?
From a Chinese medicine perspective endometriosis is simply seen as a disruption of the normal flow of blood and energy through the uterus and abdominal cavity. A treatment would be aimed at gently ‘asking’ the body to use its own inherent healing capabilities to clear blockages, reduce inflammation and resume normal functioning.
Your Chinese medicine doctor will often approach your symptoms from a few different angles with the intention of giving you the best possible chance of recovery. These include gentle acupuncture and herbal medicine, aimed at breaking up masses and improving blood flow, dietary and lifestyle changes, addressing emotional states and held beliefs, cupping, nutritional support with food and supplements, plus some topical treatments such as a castor oil pack or a heat pack. (Check out our blog post on our top three remedies for endometriosis here).
It’s been recommended to me to have surgery for my endometriosis. Can you help?
Many women with severe endometriosis have been recommended to have a hysterectomy. Uterine removal is one thing our doctors aim to help you avoid if at all possible, through a course of Chinese medicine treatment. The uterus plays an important role in several normal female physiological processes to do with the skin, digestion, sleep, and mood, plus helping to regulate healthy aging.
Currently, the removal of the uterus for endometriosis or fibroids is a very commonplace procedure in Western medicine, but new research is showing us that keeping the uterus intact can be much more beneficial to overall health. Having keyhole surgery to remove tissue can also be very disruptive and create further damage in the pelvic cavity, so it could be useful to have support when undergoing this process from your Chinese medicine doctor.
How long can treatment take?
As Endometriosis is chronic and often long-standing, don’t be surprised if your doctor recommends ongoing treatment for at least 6 months or more, depending on the severity. If a woman’s goal is to avoid surgery (particularly a hysterectomy), then going through a treatment process with her Chinese medicine doctor with the goal to possibly avoid surgery could be one of her best options. Even if you are post-menopausal or past your childbearing years, it could be beneficial for you to keep your uterus intact.
Does Chinese medicine cure endometriosis?
It is important to note that whilst we make no promises to “cure” endometriosis pain, our holistic and gentle approach may help to improve your outlook and quality of life, even if the endometriosis is not fully resolved. Endometriosis is so much more than just excess tissue growth, it is an expression of a woman’s overall health and well-being. Our goal is to help you overcome health challenges you can affect, and make peace with the ones you cannot.
How do I get started with Chinese medicine?
If you are ready to try Chinese medicine for your endometriosis you can book an appointment with one of the doctors at our Melbourne acupuncture clinic either online or over the phone. Your initial consultation will include a full health analysis and guidance as to the best course of action in your particular circumstance.
See our pricing page here
Book online here or phone the clinic on (03) 8394 7665 to book your acupuncture treatment today.
Are we easy to get to?
The clinic is located in The Body and Brain Center, 356-362 Ascot Vale Rd, Moonee Ponds, in the North Western suburbs of Melbourne and close to Highpoint. Qi Medicine is minutes away from Ascot Vale, Avondale Heights, Maribyrnong, Brunswick West, Travancore, Flemington, Aberfeldie, Maidstone and Essendon, and just 10 km from Melbourne CBD.
- (Effects of acupuncture for the treatment of endometriosis-related pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis: Yang Xu, Wenli Zhao, Te Li , Ye Zhao , Huaien, Shilin Song)
- Zhang YN, Zhao HJ, Wang Y, Lu Y, Wang SJ. [Effect of Electroacupuncture Intervention on Constipation predominant Irritable Bowl Syndrome and Colonic CGRP and SP Expression in Rats]. Zhen Ci Yan Jiu. 2016
- Liddle SD, Pennick V. Interventions for preventing and treating low-back and pelvic pain during pregnancy.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015(9):Cd001139.
- Abaraogu UO, Tabansi-Ochuogu CS. As Acupressure Decreases Pain, Acupuncture May Improve Some Aspects
of Quality of Life for Women with Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis. J Acupunct
Meridian Stud. 2015 Oct;8(5):220-8.
- Engel CC, Cordova EH, Benedek DM, Liu X, Gore KL, Goertz C, et al. Randomized effectiveness trial of a brief
course of acupuncture for posttraumatic stress disorder. Med Care. 2014 Dec;52(12 Suppl 5):S57-64.