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Acupuncture for Endometriosis & Painful Periods

Quite often, women and people who menstruate experience heavy or prolonged bleeding, painful periods, PMS/PMDD, digestive symptoms  as well as symptoms throughout their menstrual cycle. 

From a Chinese medicine perspective, your period should arrive every 27-29 days with a complete lack of premenstrual symptoms. Your menstrual bleed should be 3-5 days with the first 1-3 days having a medium level flow with no (or very few) clots and then taper off from there. How often is that the case though? From our perspective, any pain or discomfort that occurs – regardless of its medical diagnosis – is a sign of disharmony in the body. 

Just because pain is ‘normal’, doesn’t mean it should be. 

Are you tired of pain that occurs before, during or after your menstrual cycle? Or of the dreaded ‘endo belly’, digestive symptoms, mood dips and other things that can come with or around your period? 

Chinese Medicine supports menstrual health using a variety of techniques including acupuncture, herbal medicine and lifestyle changes. Our experienced practitioners understand the challenges that come with menstrual discomfort and conditions such as endometriosis and dysmenorrhoea (painful periods). We work holistically, looking at your whole health picture to see what the possible causes could be and what can be done to minimise your pain as quickly as possible. They are able to create a personalised treatment plan for you and tailor acupuncture sessions directly to address your specific needs. 

Research for Treating Endometriosis & Painful Periods with Acupuncture

There is a lot of research being done on Acupuncture for dysmenorrhoea and endometriosis. 

An Australia study (Armour et al) found that 
“Acupuncture treatment reduced menstrual pain intensity and duration after three months of treatment and this was sustained for up to one YEAR after”.

Another study (Abaraogu et al) concluded with 
“Acupressure showed evidence of pain relief while acupuncture improved both the mental and the physical components of quality of life”.
This statement came with the caveat that greater research quality was needed for further information.

Xu et al also stated that more high quality studies need to be done, but but the current data available showed that 
“Moxibustion and acupoint therapy can relieve pain effectively for individuals with PD, and these treatments have advantages in overall efficiency”.

Another study (Kim et al) found that 
“This review demonstrates the cost-effectiveness of acupuncture” which included both dysmenorrhoea and endometriosis.

This 2017 Meta-analysis of Acupuncture acknowledged that additional research was needed however that the effect of Acupuncture on  Endometriosis related pain found a reduction in pain AND a reduction in CA-125 (marker that’s associated with Endometriosis).

Finally, this 2023 Meta-analysis of Acupuncture found that 
Acupuncture and moxibustion may improve pain-related symptoms and quality of life”, 
and 
Acupuncture and moxibustion may complement or be an alternative treatment choice for women with endometriosis”.

This is just some of the research available!

FAQ

When is the best time to start treatment?
Any time in your cycle works well. If you are in pain, we will work to treat that on the day. If you’re at the start (or any other stage) of your cycle – great. We will need to work with each of the four stages of your menstrual cycle to help decease pain.

How long does pain relief take?
We normally recommend 3-4 cycles of treatment to get optimal results. 

Will I need herbal medicine?
Most likely. Traditionally in China, all gynaecological conditions (including pain) are treated solely with herbal medicine. In Australia we tend to use a combination of both and find we get more effective and quicker results with using both modalities than simply Acupuncture alone.

Do you work in conjunction with other care providers?
Absolutely. At South Hobart Acupuncture we strongly believe in having a ‘team’ to help you manage your pelvic pain and menstrual conditions. If you do have a team then we will happily work in conjunction with them. If you don’t yet have one we have a list of physios, osteos, dieticians and gynaecologists to recommend to you.

Please get in touch if you have any queries. Our team aims to guide you on your health journey and provide a supportive and personalised approach. 

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