Now we are open on weekends – Book your appointment

Acupuncture Treatment For Endometriosis & Period Pain

Endometriosis and period pain can significantly impact daily life, causing discomfort and distress for many women. Acupuncture offers a natural and holistic approach to managing these conditions. By stimulating specific points on the body, acupuncture aims to balance the body’s energy flow, reduce inflammation, and alleviate pain. This ancient practice not only helps to ease the physical symptoms but also promotes overall well-being. Many women have found relief from their symptoms through regular acupuncture sessions, making it a valuable complement to traditional medical treatments. At Goodwill, we are dedicated to providing compassionate care and effective solutions for those struggling with endometriosis and period pain, helping you to live a more comfortable and fulfilling life. 

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a diagnosis given to women who are found by a laparoscopy (as the ‘gold standard’) with endometrial-like lesions, or endometrial tissue growing outside of the uterus; its most common symptoms include:

  • Pelvic pain that may or may not fluctuate in intensity through their cycle
  • Painful intercourse
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Pain when using the bladder or bowels
  • Heavy, painful and/or clotted menstruation
  • Infertility or sub-fertility

Endo affects around 15% of reproductive age women, and as many as half of these women have reduced fertility and almost all (70-90%) live with chronic pelvic pain.
After being diagnosed, a treatment plan is formed by a GP or specialist, generally this will involve medications for pain, cyclical hormonal control medications, pelvic surgery to remove the endo, pelvic physio, or a combination of all of these. However, even with these interventions many women find symptoms slip through the cracks and continue to cause issues. Pain may still be present, perhaps there is a need for management of the medications side effects or perhaps they cannot tolerate medication all together.
In other instances, women don’t like to cover up their pain using medications to suppress their natural hormonal rhythms, they understand the health benefits that the menstrual cycle can have for the body. They also may not want to undergo a surgery that carries a risk of damage to internal organs, involves recovery time, and has a recurrence rate of up to 40%.
These women are looking for ways to undo, and manage the inflammation and pain signals from within, this is where acupuncture can play a role.

How Does Acupuncture Help?

Acupuncture needles placed at specific points on the body activate sensory afferent nerve end plates and send signals to the brain. In response to this the body secretes a cascade of messaging chemicals that cause changes in the brain and internal organs.
Research on the benefit of acupuncture is ongoing. Its effectiveness and mechanism of action are becoming better understood as more high quality studies are carried out. Some of the current evidence supports these possible explanations:

Releases Adenosine:

  • Calms the central nervous system, inducing relaxation and sleep.
  • Improves heart rate variability, benefiting mental health and promoting the body’s “rest and digest” function.
  • Acts locally as an anti-inflammatory agent.
  • Activates brain signals that regulate the gastrointestinal and immune systems, reducing gut inflammation and modulating pain signals.

Releases Endogenous Opioids:

  • Enkephalins and beta-endorphins, which are natural painkillers, are released.
  • These molecules also aid in tissue healing.

Up-regulates Other Neurotransmitters:

  • Increases levels of serotonin, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), nitric oxide, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

Stimulates the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis:

  • Promotes functioning within the parasympathetic nervous system, which is crucial for healing and relaxation.
  • Helps downregulate chronic inflammation and promotes the secretion of neuroendocrine hormones, especially important for reproductive health.

Has Antihistamine Action:

  • Regulates pro-inflammatory molecules such as cytokines and neuropeptides that cause symptoms.

Disrupts Pain Cycles:

  • Modulates pain signals from internal organs to the brain, preventing over-stimulation of the nervous system in chronic pain conditions.
  • The insertion of needles can regulate pain signals through neurotrophins, ultimately reducing persistent pain signals from the pelvic cavity to the brain.

How do Acupuncturists view Endometriosis ?

Acupuncturists view endometriosis through the lens of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), focusing on the balance and flow of energy, or “Qi,” within the body. They believe that endometriosis is caused by a disruption in this energy flow, often due to stagnation, deficiencies, or imbalances. According to TCM principles, such disruptions can lead to pain, inflammation, and the formation of endometrial tissue outside the uterus. Acupuncturists aim to restore the balance of Qi by targeting specific acupuncture points that correspond to the affected areas. This holistic approach not only addresses the physical symptoms but also considers the emotional and psychological well-being of the patient. By improving energy flow, reducing inflammation, and alleviating pain, acupuncture offers a complementary therapy that can enhance overall health and improve the quality of life for those suffering from endometriosis.

What will a course of acupuncture for endo involve?

The treatment plan using acupuncture for endometriosis and period pain typically spans 2-3 months, with sessions ideally held weekly, and bi-weekly if needed. This schedule has been found to provide the best results and has the potential to alter the pathophysiology and biology associated with endometriosis. Studies have shown that this approach can offer pain relief for up to a year.

Sessions range from 50 to 70 minutes, with the initial session being the longest to thoroughly assess the woman’s symptoms.

Home-based treatments and advice, including moxa, massage, dietary changes, exercise, and meditation recommendations, are also provided.

Acupuncture treatment is a very relaxing and nurturing experience. Most women report improved relaxation, better sleep, enhanced mood and cognition, improved digestive function, and increased energy levels after their treatments. If you’d like to read more about what an acupuncture treatment feels like with us, take a look here…

Start Your Acupuncture Journey Now with Goodwill!

Take the first step towards a healthier, more balanced life by starting your acupuncture journey with Goodwill. Our experienced practitioners are dedicated to providing personalized care to address your specific needs, whether you’re dealing with endometriosis, period pain, or other health concerns. Experience the profound benefits of acupuncture, including pain relief, improved energy, better sleep, and enhanced overall well-being. At Goodwill, we combine ancient wisdom with modern understanding to help you achieve optimal health. Begin your journey to wellness today and discover the transformative power of acupuncture. Schedule your appointment with us now!