Endometriosis-and-Chinese-Medicine-1

Endometriosis is one of the leading causes of pelvic pain in women.

It’s usually diagnosed when women suffer painful, heavy or irregular periods but sometimes there are no symptoms and it is only discovered when a woman seeks treatment for infertility.

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition where cells similar to those that normally lines the uterus (the endometrium) grow outside the uterus and stick to various pelvic organs such as the ovaries, bowel, rectum, bladder and the lining of the pelvis. Occasionally, this tissue can stray even further and can be found outside the pelvic region in other areas of the body.

This endometrial tissue behaves just like the uterine lining in that it responds to hormones during the menstrual cycle. Consequently, at the time of every ‘menstrual bleed’ the endometrial tissue, wherever it is, sloughs off. For regular endometrial tissue in the uterus the majority exits via the vagina during the period. However endometrial-like tissue elsewhere in the body cannot be discharged and over time it builds up and can form masses and lesions which can affect organ function.

What are the symptoms of endometriosis?

The primary symptom is pelvic pain – during period, during or after sex, during bowel movement or urination. Other symptoms can include;  fatigue, nausea, diarrhoea, weight gain, vomiting, bloating and all of these can often lead to depression, anxiety or just feelings of low self esteem.

What are the main causes of endometriosis?

  • Genetics: women who have a close relative with the condition are up to 7-10 times more likely to get endometriosis.
  • Retrograde (backwards) menstruation: When a woman has a period, the blood flows out of the vagina, but also backwards along the fallopian tubes into the pelvis. In 90% of women, the blood, which will contain endometrial cells is absorbed or broken down and causes no symptoms; however, in some women this endometrial tissue starts to grow causing endometriosis.
  • Conversion of normal pelvic tissue into endometriosis.

There are other possible lifestyle and environmental factors that can play a role in causing endometriosis and these can be discussed during a consultation with one of our practitioners.

Treatment

Cessation of periods?

It is generally considered that the single most effective treatment of endometriosis is the cessation of the menstrual cycle. This is because the endometrium tissue responds to the fertility hormones that dictate our menses. When women stop having periods naturally at menopause (around 45-55) it’s because oestrogen has declined. No messages from oestrogen – no endometrial growth and no bleed.

However, for many good reasons, many women do not want to go through menopause early. It can entail other health risks and unwelcome changes to the body.

Nor is menopause necessary the cure. For women with advanced endometriosis, scarring or/and cysts, women may still suffer symptoms and long term pain.

Likewise, women that go on HRT will maintain oestrogen levels that continue endometrial growth and therefore continue to have the pain and symptoms associated with endometriosis.

Conventional treatment methods range from taking painkillers, the oral contraceptive pill, laparascopy, endoymyometrial resection, ablation, combinations of these and other surgeries through to full hysterectomy. The unfortunate aspect of all this intervention is that if there are still hormones and there is still endometrial tissue remaining, and there are no other changes made the body will respond and the endometrial tissue will continue to grow.

The ben&biao approach

We understand that endometriosis is individual. As a holistic practice we look at both underlying causes and the symptoms and we understand that sometimes the best approach is a combination of conventional treatments and Chinese medicine.

We will probably suggest Chinese herbal support, evidence-based supplements and lifestyle adjustments and this may extend to pre or post-surgery to prevent further endometrial tissue growth. We may recommend acupuncture to deal with localized pain and inflammation and to reduce stress and anxiety.

How can Chinese medicine be used to help or reduce the symptoms of endometriosis?

To find out more on how we treat pain and the cause please see our blog ; Stopping endometriosis pain in 2019

  • In short Chinese Medicine is targeted to
  • Help reduce the local inflammation,
  • Help break up endometrial tissue
  • help limit the growth of
  • help relieve pain
  • help manage the anxiety and stress associated with your monthly cycle

If you have endometriosis and are looking for support BOOK now to talk with one of health directors – Heidi Dunn or Sally Chilvers and find out how we can help you.

If you still are unsure regarding whether we can help we encourage you to read our blog ‘stopping endometiosis pain in 2019’ or

BOOK NOW

References*

Abaraogu UO, Tabansi-Ochuogu CS, As Acupressure Decreases Pain, Acupuncture May Improve Some Aspects of Quality of Life for women with Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis, Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies (2015), doi: 10.1016/j.jams.2015.06.010.

Effects of acupuncture for the treatment of endometriosis related pain: A systematic review and meta analysis; PLos one 2017, Oct 27;12 (10):e0186616.

Is acupuncture in addition to conventional medicine effective as pain treatment for endometriosis? A randomised controlled cross-over trial. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2010 Nov;153(1):90-3).

In addition, Chinese Herbal Medicine has been shown to be effective in treating pain, produces equal if not better  results than danazol and gestrinone and produces less side effects.

Flower & Liu, Jianping & Lewith, George & Little, Paul & Li, Qing. (2012). Chinese herbal medicine for endometriosis. Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online). 5. CD006568. 10.1002/14651858.CD006568.pub3.

 

Any Questions?

Call one of our Health Directors, Sally or Heidi

Make a Booking

use our online form to make an appointment.

Call Us

Contact us by phone