Acupuncture for Endometriosis: Can It Help With Pain?
Learn how acupuncture for endometriosis can help relieve chronic pain by reducing inflammation and CA-125 levels in your blood.
·November 3rd, 2021
Acupuncture for endometriosis is a complementary therapy that can help reduce the pain associated with the condition.
Endometriosis is a common gynecological condition affecting 1 in 10 women. It causes severe pelvic pain, painful periods, and infertility.
Traditional treatments for endometriosis may not be effective enough to reduce chronic pain levels or keep symptoms at bay.
Thin needles are placed at acupressure points in the body to reduce pain through increased blood flow and a reduction of inflammation.
Endometriosis patients experience a reduction in their pain levels and improvement of their symptoms of endometriosis after receiving acupuncture.
Scientific studies show that acupuncture reduces blood levels of CA-125, an important biomarker associated with endometriosis.
Reach out to an acupuncturist to learn more about how it can help endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a painful condition that affects quality of life. Current Western treatments are often not effective at reducing pain levels, and sometimes they have unwanted side effects. Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine practice, can help relieve the pain and inflammation caused by endometriosis.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture originated in China thousands of years ago and is still being used to treat many conditions, often in conjunction with herbs, diet, and massage.
In traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the flow of qi, the body’s life force, through a system of meridians, or channels through which the qi circulates.
Acupuncture treats a variety of conditions by triggering specific locations on the body, called acupoints, with thin needles. The needles stimulate nerves to promote blood flow to the tissues, glands, and organs throughout the body and to reduce inflammation. The process is minimally invasive, and you may not even feel it.
In the Western world, acupuncture is often used as an alternative therapy when conventional treatments don’t provide relief. Many Western healthcare providers recommend acupuncture to their patients as a therapy to supplement Western medical interventions.
Why should I try acupuncture for endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a common gynecological condition causing chronic pelvic pain and heavy, painful periods. People with endometriosis also have an increased risk of infertility. Traditional therapies rely on hormonal treatments and surgery to treat endometriosis.
These treatments are often not sufficient to relieve pain in the long term. Even if your pain is reduced initially, it can recur and become worse. Surgical treatments have severe side effects and long recovery times and may not cure the problem.
Acupuncture is a safe and effective therapy that helps many people control the pain and inflammation of endometriosis without the potential side effects of medication and surgery.
How does acupuncture for endometriosis work?
Acupuncture can be used to help reduce chronic pelvic pain and intense menstrual cramps caused by endometriosis. This therapy has no serious side effects, and there is no recovery time after sessions. For endometriosis, your acupuncturist may place needles in your lower back, pelvic and abdominal region, lower legs, feet, or hands.
Needle placement for endometriosis patients will most likely include the following acupuncture points:
Along the middling of your abdomen
On either side of your navel
In the center of your cranium
In the fleshy part between your index finger and thumb
At the juncture of your first and second toes
On the inner side of your Achilles tendon
At the midpoint of your calf and behind your knee
These acupuncture points connect the meridians (energy lines) responsible for reproductive health. The fine needles stimulate your nerves, connective tissues, and muscles to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation in your pelvis.
Acupuncture also causes your body’s natural painkillers, endorphins, to be released, helping to reduce your pain.
Acupuncture for endometriosis can work alongside your other treatments to help further reduce your pain levels. It’s a natural holistic remedy that won’t interfere with other endometriosis treatments.
How long will acupuncture take to relieve my pain?
Initial acupuncture treatment for your endometriosis may take six to eight weeks with one to two half-hour sessions each week. After this first phase, you may only need acupuncture treatments twice per month. The entire process can take up to six months before you see results.
Ideally, your treatment is tailored by your acupuncturist to fit your specific needs and trouble areas. Your pain level and location of symptoms determine where needles are placed and the number of needles used. Severe pain may require additional acupuncture treatments over a longer period.
Is there evidence that acupuncture works for endometriosis pain?
While further research is needed, existing research supports acupuncture as a treatment for endometriosis. A number of studies show that acupuncture works to reduce pain and may help treat the severity of endometriosis.
Researchers have conducted randomized, controlled studies with hundreds of women diagnosed with endometriosis. They studied variations in pain levels, levels of CA-125 in the blood, and the clinical effects of acupuncture.
Acupuncture reduces pain
Compared to control groups, study participants reported a reduction in the duration and intensity of pain and a reduction of other endometriosis symptoms. Pain from endometriosis can be caused by several factors, including muscular trigger point dysfunction and excess endometrial tissue, called lesions.
Acupuncture stimulates these muscles and tissues to increase blood flow and healing. It also reduces inflammation in these areas. Patients in these studies reported lower pain intensity after their treatments, increased social activity, and improved quality of life.
Acupuncture lowers CA-125 levels
Acupuncture also had a positive effect on the CA-125 levels of study participants. CA-125 is a glycoprotein biomarker found in blood that’s used to help diagnose endometriosis.
Patients’ CA-125 levels were measured before they began receiving acupuncture and again after their treatment was complete. Levels of CA-125 in patients who received acupuncture were lower after treatment.
Lower CA-125 levels and lower pain levels in endometriosis patients after acupuncture treatments show that acupuncture is an effective treatment that patients can use as a complementary therapy for their endometriosis.