Endometriosis is a female health disorder that occurs when cells from the lining of the womb (uterus) grow in other areas of the body.
In this article we will shine a light on the common gynaecological condition of Endometriosis. We will explain what it is from a Western Medicine perspective and describe its negative impact on fertility. We will also discover how Traditional Chinese Medicine can effectively treat women living with endometriosis.
Endometriosis and fertility
If left untreated endometriosis is a major cause of female infertility and 1/3 of women with endometriosis will find it difficult to become pregnant. Many find intercourse to be painful and some will experience complications during pregnancy. It is for this reason that it is vital that this condition is treated effectively. Endometriosis is more prevalent in women who have never given birth or became pregnant for the first time later in life.
What are the figures?
- Endometriosis is one of the most prevalent gynaecological conditions that affects approximately 1 in 10 women of reproductive age
What is Endometriosis, Causes & Symptoms
Endometriosis is a gynaecological condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb begins to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes. This build up of tissue may create adhesions, which are ”sticky” areas of tissue that can cause organs to fuse together.
The exact cause of endometriosis is still not entirely clear: It is thought that this may be the result of blockages or damages to the fallopian tubes or ovaries. We do know however that endometriosis has a genetic link – women with a mother or sister who suffer from endometriosis are 6 times more likely to have the condition themselves.
Symptoms of endometriosis include: pain in the lower abdomen, pelvis, and lower back. This pain often intensifies in the lead up to menstruation and can last for several days afterwards. This condition may also result in painful bowel movements; severe period pain and heavy periods.
Western medical treatments for endometriosis
There are a number of theories about what can cause endometriosis and infertility and there is no one definitive cure. Current Western medical approaches focus on managing the symptoms rather than curing the condition and there are high recurrence rates.
Frequently prescribed treatments include:
- Painkillers – such as ibuprofen and paracetamol
- Hormone medicines and contraceptives, such as the combined pill, the contraceptive patch, and an intrauterine system (IUS)
- Surgery to remove patches of endometriosis tissue
- An operation to remove part or all of the organs affected by endometriosis – such as surgery to remove the womb
Some of these treatments are clearly more invasive than others, some carry significant side effects and some of them are problematic if you are seeking to become pregnant – Most hormone treatments for example reduce the likelihood of pregnancy
Endometriosis and Chinese Medicine
Chinese Medicine has been used over the last 3,000 years to treat the root cause of Endometriosis along with the accompanying symptoms.
“Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views endometrial lesions as static blood – blood that is not flowing as it should”
From a Chinese Medicine perspective endometriosis, irregular and painful periods can be explained as a combination of energy stagnation and poor circulation. Interestingly, Traditional Chinese medicine does not categorise endometriosis as a disease – it is a symptom of Stagnant Qi (restricted blood circulation), and Kidney Yang Deficiency (which affects metabolism). It is thought that by supporting these functions Chinese Medicine, in particular through the use of Herbs, is able to boost the body’s innate ability to heal itself and to naturally balance its hormone levels.
Causes of Endometriosis: A Chinese Medicine Perspective
There are many causes for endometriosis and many of these are linked
- Stress causes Liver Qi Stagnation. This is contributes to the development of endometriosis and learning how to deal with stressful situations and making time to relax is important.
- Working too much can Deplete our Spleen. It is important that we balance work with rest so that our bodies and our minds have time to recover.
- Diet: When we are stressed we will often neglect to pay attention to our diet – we may over or under eat or fill our bodies with food with little nutritional value. We need to be eating warming and seasonal food that will help to nourish our Qi.
- Abdominal surgery may physically disrupt the underlying Meridian System. It is important that this is corrected so that energy can flow uninterrupted.
Chinese Medicine: The flow of energy
According to Chinese Medical theory a healthy uterus depends on the wellbeing of a number of organs, in particular:
Each of these organs connect to other parts of the body via a complex system of energy lines – or Meridians – that flow throughout the body. These Meridians transport Qi to where it is needed. The Meridians of the Liver, Spleen, and Kidney all cross the pelvic region which is where the uterus is located. If any of these Meridians are blocked or congested, or the energy is flowing in a deficient manner, this will manifest in a host of menstruation problems including poor uterine health which can result in infertility.
A correctly functioning Liver is essential to a healthy uterus as it is responsible for maintaining the potency of Qi as it flows around the of the body. A Liver that is stressed is more likely to create stagnated Qi. By stimulating points on the Liver meridian and around the abdomen, Qi will be able to flow freely.
There are a number of herbal treatments that have a profoundly positive effect on endometriosis and fertility.
Chinese Motherwort (Yi Mu Cao)
Chinese Motherwort (Yi Mu Cao) for example is a popular Chinese herb that can balance women’s hormones through its action of soothing blood stagnation. This herb helps to balance irregular menstrual cycle, amenorrhea, postpartum abdominal pain, heavy flow with clots, fixed abdominal masses, infertility and traumatic pain. It is also effective at treating fibroids and endometriosis.
Tao Hong Si Wu Tang
Tao Hong Si Wu Tang is another classic Chinese formula which enriches and restores blood. It can be used to regulate the menstrual cycle, support hormone balance, fertility issues and symptoms arising from blood deficiency.
Chinese Herbal Medicine For Endometriosis
Chinese Medicine can safely be used in conjunction with Western medicine or is an effective stand alone treatment. As it is a holistic therapy, your practitioner will conduct a thorough diagnosis before starting your treatment. They may look at your tongue, palpate your abdomen and feel the pulses which are located on your wrists. All of these tests will provide information about what treatment will be best for you.
Your practitioner will find out about any medications or prior treatments that you might have taken for your endometriosis and take this into account when planning what treatments will be most effective for your condition. Their treatments will focus on:
Best diet for endometriosis
The best diet for endometriosis is one that is warming, such as soup. Some food such as sugar, beef and dairy products exacerbate this condition and should be avoided. Other foods that can cause problems include nuts, oils, and fats, chocolate, pork, citrus fruits and apples. Alcohol is also dampening and should be avoided.
In addition to its mood elevating and stress reducing properties, gentle exercise is an extremely effective way of reducing the severity of symptoms of endometriosis and Qi or Blood stagnation. Exercise will encourage circulation and it will also help to reduce levels of oestrogen in the body which may also help with your symptoms.
ENDOMETRIOSIS SUCCESS STORY WITH CHINESE MEDICINE
A quick lesson in Chinese Medicine
Energy lines, known as acupuncture meridians, flow around the body. By placing single use, sterile acupuncture needles into specific parts of the body, we are able to help stimulate this flow of energy (Qi). This may be combined with moxibustion which is when small amounts of the herb Mugwort (or Moxa) is used to gently warm up the body and to nourish the body’s reserves of energy. One theory is that these treatments encourage the flow of blood, which in turn helps to shift the adhesions and “sticky” masses. Another theory for how acupuncture works is that the treatment triggers a cascade of pain relieving reactions and allows the body’s nervous system to calm down, resulting in a multitude of therapeutic effects.
Most women will also benefit from the use of Chinese herbal medicine – the combination of both of these forms of safe and natural therapy provides a gentle and effective treatment for this chronic and debilitating condition.
Curious to learn more about cold uterus and how it affect your body ? Click here.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.