Tuesday, 10 April 2018 20:10

A TCM-based psychotherapy with acupuncture for endometriosis - Florian Beissner

Endometriosis is a gynaecological disorder affecting 6-10% of all women in their reproductive age. Previous studies have shown an association between pelvic pain and trauma. We wanted to know if patients with painful endometriosis may benefit from a treatment combining psychotherapy for trauma release with acupuncture and related techniques.
67 patients with severe painful endometriosis were included in the study. Functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to assess brain connectivity of these patients at baseline, after three months of therapy and after six months. The analysis was focused on the hippocampus.
We identified a cortical network comprising the right anterolateral hippocampus – a region modulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis – and brain regions involved in somatosensory, viscerosensory and interoceptive processing. Regression analysis showed that reduction in connectivity of this network predicted therapy-induced improvement in patients' anxiety in the treatment group, but not in the control group.

We conclude that patients with endometriosis, who suffer from pelvic pain, can obtain substantial benefit from acupuncture-enhanced psychotherapy. We have identified a putative mechanism underlying this potent combination of therapies and our results emphasize the importance of trauma as a central factor in the aetiology of pelvic pain.