I think over my 15 years as an acupuncturist specialising in women’s health the clients that have stayed in my heart and memory most frequently are those suffering from endometriosis.
It is hard to think of a more cruel or debilitating illness both physically and mentally. I also find it hard to find a group of women I have more respect for. By the time clients find their way to me many have had a difficult journey.
I tend to see the complex cases of endometriosis. Many clients tend to choose to come to me because of my nursing background. This added training and medical experience gives clients with such a diverse and serious disorder much more confidence in my knowledge and ability to help.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition where cells similar to ones in the wall of the uterus are found in other parts of the body.
These cells act similarly to cells in the uterus, building up then breaking down. Unlike the cells in the womb that leave the body in a period this blood has no way to escape.
It is a chronic disease affecting 1.5 million women in the UK.
Many have told me that as teenagers they were told by their GP that the agonising pain was due to hormones settling down or a low pain threshold.Teenagers then feel they are failures because they cannot tolerate what everybody else supposedly can. They feel they are weak when really they are stronger than everybody else!
Endometriosis and pain
Pain is the main symptom of endometriosis but the severity of symptoms can vary dramatically from person to person
It can show as menstrual cramps sometimes with quits debilitating pain, pain during or after sex, painful bowel movements or urination.
Currently there is no cure for endometriosis. Medical treatments include the pill, other pain and symptom relief medication, surgery.
The clients I see are mainly with me for pain relief.
Does acupuncture work in reducing pain for everybody?
No it does not( unfortunately).Similarly to drug therapy and other options it does not improve symptoms for everybody.
There are however many clients who do get a great deal of relief with acupuncture.
Researchers find acupuncture more effective than hormone drug therapy for the treatment of endometriosis. Acupuncture relieves menstrual pain due to endometriosis, reduces the size of pelvic masses, lowers CA125 levels, and reduces the recurrence rate of endometriosis.
A further study showed the importance of addressing psychological factors in those with endometriosis pain especially in combination with aspects of traditional Chinese medicine.
There are other options available for pain due to this rotten disease. They are certainly worth investigating. Many of these can be used alongside conventional methods. Please mention to your doctor that you are trying these methods too.In my clinic I certainly find individualised hypnotherapy along with breathing techniques are really useful especially in combination with acupuncture, electro acupuncture and occasionally moxabustion.
If this article has raised any questions please drop me an email.
I will do all I can to help.