March is Endometriosis Awareness Month
Endometriosis affects five and half million women and girls in the United States. In most cases, endometriosis can be a very painful reproductive and immunological disease in which the endometrium—uterine lining—moves outside the uterus and implants in other areas of the pelvic region. It is often described as "killer cramps". Endometriosis can affect any woman from adolescence to post-menopause.
Common symptoms are:
>> very painful periods
>> pelvic pain at any point during a woman or girl’s cycle
>> heavy or irregular periods
>> pain with sexual activity, urination, or bowel movements
>> lower back pain
Research on acupuncture and endometriosis has been shown to be very effective in helping women and girls with this condition by reducing pain, decreasing inflammation, and regulating hormones.
In a recent study, one hundred and one women aged 20 to 40 years participated and were randomized into two groups, each receiving two units of 10 acupuncture treatments, twice a week over a period of five weeks. Group 1 (n = 47) received verum-acupuncture during the first series, and group 2 (n = 54) received non-specific acupuncture. After the first unit of 10 treatments, an observation period of at least two menstruation cycles was set, followed by a second unit, according to a crossover design. Prior to the study (during a two-week run-in period) the patients' actual pain intensity was surveyed. Throughout the study period, participants were asked to keep a 'pain protocol', in which they defined and recorded their pain according to the 10-point visual analogue scale (VAS). Group 1 showed a significant reduction of pain intensity after the first ten treatments.