Endometriosis Case Study

Aug 28 2021

Endometriosis is a fairly common chronic progressive inflammatory disorder occurring in 1 out of 10 women of reproductive age. This disorder is often misdiagnosed for a number of of other disorders including IBS, colitis or dismissed as ‘painful periods’ or dysmenorrhea. Thankfully, due to women’s health advocacy and patient education more women are able to reach a diagnosis of endometriosis to receive proper treatment. Part of this treatment plan can include regular acupuncture treatments.

In endometriosis, the endometrial tissue is found outside of the uterus. Due to the progressive nature of this disease scarring and adhesions can be found in the uterus and ovarian cysts and endometriomas may develop, often this leads to painful, heavy and irregular periods with difficulty to conceive. Endometriosis symptoms tend to flare up right before menstruation, and subside after bleeding due to the fluctuation of hormones- this is why it is important for women to book treatments monthly before their cycle occurs for maintenance of symptom.

Currently there isn’t a ‘cure’ for endometriosis and most western treatment is simply pain management. Anti-inflammatory drugs, either prescribed or over the counter are recommended for women with pain and inflammation due to endometriosis, as with most gynecological disorders oral contraceptives are also recommended, however that is not helpful for women who have endometriosis and are looking to conceive. In severe cases, a medication that inhibits certain reproductive hormones to be released to suppress ovulation is used, this is only recommended for short term because of adverse effects like premature menopause and decreased bone density.

Luckily acupuncture can be incredibly effective in treating gynecological disorders like endometriosis. This is largely because acupuncture is useful in decreasing any inflammation, scar tissue and adhesions in the entire body. When needles are placed in the lower abdomen and in some cases electrical stimulation is applied, the acupuncture acts as a natural anti-inflammatory with no adverse effects. Acupuncture will also improve circulation and move stagnant blood that is trapped in adhesions due to the ectopic growths that occur with endometriosis.

Many patients come into East to West Wellness Center to treat endometriosis and other gynecological disorders. A particular patient had painful endometriosis, an irregular cycle and severe migraines and anxiety that would also occur during the time of her cycle. With weekly acupuncture sessions for 4-5 weeks we were able to regulate her cycle, relieve the abdominal pain associated with menses, as well as decrease the intensity and frequency of her migraines and anxiety. After two cycles had passed since initial treatment she came back in for a ‘tune up’. Now this patient comes in very sporadically for a treatment every several months if she has some pain or discomfort with her menses.

Anna Craddock, Student of Acupuncture

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