What is Endometriosis?

The medical term for the womb lining is endometrium. Endometriosis is when cells from the womb lining are found in other parts of the body. The most common places these cells can be found are in the abdomen. They can be found on the fallopian tubes, the bladder, the outside of the uterus, or the bowels. Although these cells are not in their usual place inside the womb, they still act like the womb lining. During a woman’s cycle they thicken, and then during a period they are shed and bleed. But this blood has nowhere to go and can cause problems, the main one being pain. We do not yet know why endometriosis occurs, though there are lots of theories as to why women get it. It is quite common, occurring in 6% – 10% of the women. It is estimated that 1.5 million women in the UK have endometriosis.


The most common symptom is painful periods. Other common symptoms are:

–        Pain during sex

–        Pain when going to the toilet, both urination and defecation

–        Heavy or irregular periods

–        Lower back pain

–        Infertility

Some women get no symptoms at all.


Acupuncture for endometriosis aims to help with pain, regulate your menstrual cycle, and help with fertility problems. We also look at helping with any stress you are experiencing and to help with your general wellbeing and energy.

Research for Acupuncture and Endometriosis

It has been shown that acupuncture treatment may specifically be of benefit in people with endometriosis by:

  • providing pain relief – by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, acupuncture leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors, and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Zhao 2008, Han 2004, Zijlstra 2003, Pomeranz 1987).
  • reducing inflammation – by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors Kavoussi 2007, Zijlstra 2003).
  • regulating levels of prostaglandins (Jin 2009). ‘ – (Prostaglandins are hormones that provide part of the body’s way of dealing with injury and illness, especially bleeding and inflamation.)

The British Acupuncture Council’s fact sheet says:

‘There is preliminary evidence to support acupuncture as an effective treatment for endometriosis..’

Acupuncture and Endometriosis Research Fact Sheet


Although blood tests and scans may help with diagnosis, the only sure way to know is to have a laparoscopy. This is where a small cut is made in you abdomen, and a small camera is used to look inside.


Treatment can be through surgery, hormone therapy or complementary approaches such as acupuncture.

Which treatment you choose depends of many factors. These can be  personal such as your age, how severe it is and your desire to have children .

You can find oiut more information from

Endemetriosis UK – http://www.endometriosis‐uk.org

They have a local Bristol support group run by Jen –  http://www.endometriosis-uk.org/support/groups/bristol.html


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