The primary benefit of acupuncture for endometriosis might be relief from pain. Acupuncture for endometriosis might also help women become pregnant after in vitro fertilization procedures. Other menstrual disorders, such as problems ovulating, severe cramping, and irregular menstrual cycles, might improve with this alternative form of therapy.
Acupuncture for endometriosis and other health concerns represent a growing area of study as supplemental therapy to traditional medical treatment. A study at an acupuncture institute in Austria showed pain levels decreased in 101 women treated with acupuncture. All study participants suffered from endometriosis, with varying levels of pain reported.
Two groups of women received 10 acupuncture treatments twice each week for more than a month. The women, ranging in age from 20 to 40 years old, rated pain levels before and after the experiment. All participants reported relief from pain associated with the disorder afterward. Researchers concluded additional study might shed more light on the benefits of acupuncture for endometriosis.
An earlier study using adolescent girls revealed changes in bodily chemicals linked to inflammation after acupuncture treatments. The teens were treated with Japanese acupuncture, a form of therapy using very thin needles without herbal supplements typically used by Chinese and Korean acupuncturists. Scientists suggested a larger sampling of teenagers in further studies to determine the significance of these results.
Endometriosis occurs when cells outside the uterus form inflamed lesions, leading to pain and infertility in some women. These cells contain the same hormonal composition as cells found inside the uterus that regulate menstruation. Traditional treatment for the disorder in Western societies includes surgery to remove growths, anti-inflammatory drugs to ease pain, and oral contraceptives to regulate hormonal imbalances.
Acupuncture consists of inserting and manipulating thin needles into precise areas of the body to stimulate the immune system. The theory behind this ancient form of Asian medicine centers on meridians, described as paths linked to organs along which life energy, or qi, flows. Stimulating these channels might release endorphins and other chemicals in the brain that block pain signals. Acupuncturists aim to establish harmony in energy flow between the body and the mind.
The World Health Organization and other medical agencies suggest acupuncture in conjunction with more traditional treatments for endometriosis. It is considered a safe alternative therapy with no known harmful side effects. The medical community estimates 15 percent of all females who suffer from severe menstrual pain might be afflicted with endometriosis.