Understanding and Managing Endometriosis

A women holding her stomach in severe pain

A woman holding her lower abdomen in severe pain

Endometriosis is a prevalent condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows outside it, affecting various parts of the body. Over 830,000 Australian women (more than 10%) experience endometriosis, often beginning in their teenage years. The symptoms can vary significantly, leading to a delay of 7 to 12 years in diagnosis.

Common Symptoms and Impact

Typical symptoms include severe pelvic pain during or around a woman’s period, which can be debilitating. Endometriosis can also affect fertility. While it primarily impacts reproductive organs, it can also be found in the bowel, bladder, muscles, joints, lungs, and even the brain. Endometrial tissue can attach to any organ within the abdominal cavity, causing adhesions where organs stick to the abdominal lining, leading to extreme pain and bowel movement issues.


stomach flat healthy digestion

Happy healthy digestion

Digestive Issues

Many women with endometriosis suffer from a range of digestive issues. These problems can include bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, and nausea, often intensifying during menstrual periods. Endometriosis can cause the formation of adhesions that affect the bowel, leading to pain and irregular bowel movements. Other digestive symptoms that may indicate endometriosis include:

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)-like symptoms: Cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits.
Painful bowel movements: Especially during menstruation, due to endometrial tissue on the bowel.
Rectal bleeding: In rare cases, endometriosis can cause bleeding from the rectum, particularly during menstruation.
Food intolerances: Some women develop sensitivities to certain foods, exacerbating digestive symptoms.


An image of a women in pain with an image of a uterus containing endometrial plaques

Uterus and endometrial plaques

Symptom Variability

Many women with endometriosis suffer from

  • severe period pain
  • and long heavy periods,
  • some may experience constant bleeding throughout their cycle.
  • Others might have no symptoms and only discover their condition when trying to conceive.
  • The pain and discomfort caused by endometriosis are among the most common complaints from those affected.

For many women who seek our help – its the severe and constant pain, digestive issues, constant body pain, and a lack of support that leads them to seek our help.


 Diagnosis and Western Medicine Treatments

Endometriosis is diagnosed through a laparoscopy, a procedure involving a small incision in the lower abdomen to insert a camera. This allows doctors to see the endometrial tissue on organs like the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bowel, and bladder. Western medicine often treats endometriosis with hormone therapy to prevent endometrial lining growth and alleviate pain. Surgical removal of endometrial tissue can also improve fertility.

Chinese herbs and needles demonstrating the tools used in Chinese medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Approach

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a different perspective on endometriosis, focusing on five main patterns: blood stasis, qi stagnation, kidney yang deficiency, spleen qi deficiency, and damp heat stagnation and stasis. These patterns help explain the variety of symptoms women experience. For instance, qi and blood stagnation often result in severe pelvic pain and long, heavy periods. TCM aims to treat the root cause, not just the symptoms, through methods like acupuncture and herbal medicine.

Keywords used: Acupuncture, medicine Modified description: A woman undergoes stomach acupuncture, a time-honored medicinal practice.

How Acupuncture Helps

Recent research highlights several mechanisms through which acupuncture may alleviate endometriosis symptoms:

1. Nerve Stimulation: Acupuncture needles stimulate sensory nerves, triggering brain and organ responses, including the release of adenosine, which promotes sleep, improves blood circulation, and acts as an anti-inflammatory.

2. Pain Relief: Acupuncture encourages the release of the body’s natural painkillers, known as endogenous opioids, and molecules associated with tissue healing.

3. Anti-inflammatory Effects: It reduces pro-inflammatory cytokines and neuropeptides, which can prolong inflammation and pain sensitivity.

4. Nervous System Regulation: Acupuncture balances the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, often overactive during illness.

5. Holistic Health Improvement: TCM addresses stress, energy levels, digestion, inflammation, and sleep, providing a comprehensive treatment for endometriosis.


 Combining Treatments for Better Outcomes

Many women find relief using a combination of TCM and Western medicine. Acupuncture, in particular, can help manage pain, reduce inflammation, and improve overall well-being. Regular sessions, dietary adjustments, and lifestyle changes form part of a holistic approach to treatment.

Treatment Expectations

When visiting an acupuncturist, an initial assessment will determine the appropriate treatment plan.

For gynaecological conditions like endometriosis, weekly acupuncture sessions are typically recommended, with a frequency of once a week for 12 weeks for the initial treatment period.

If there are greater complications and extremely severe pain, treatments twice a week for the first few weeks may also be recommended.

Treatments may include acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, diet adjustments, and moxibustion, which uses warming herbs to enhance blood flow and reduce pain.

At Rebalance – we also make sure that we work together with a team of other practitioners – these may include – your endo specialist, fertility specialist, a women’s pelvic health physio, osteo, chiros or other allied health practitioners.


Current Research

Recent studies, such as one conducted by Dr. Mike Armour from Western Sydney University’s NICM Health Research Institute, show promising results. Women undergoing acupuncture experienced a 42% reduction in pelvic pain after eight weeks, along with improvements in their quality of life.

Understanding your body and symptoms is crucial for effective treatment. If you have endometriosis, it’s essential to explore all available treatment options and seek professional advice tailored to your unique condition.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact us at julia@rebalancetcm.com We are here to support you on your journey to better health.

To book a session with Julia, click here and choose an Initial Women hormone appointment or call us at 0412 789 772.



1. Evidence Based Acupuncture. (2019). Acupuncture: An Overview of Scientific Evidence.
2. Cochrane S et al., March 2014, International Journal of Women’s Health
3. Kong S et al., Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
4. Armour M et al., (2017) PLOS ONE
5. McDonald J, Janz S. The Acupuncture Evidence Project: A Comparative Literature Review
6. Lim CED et al., Australian Journal of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
7. MSD Professional version, Endometriosis
8. Endometriosis Australia