Acupuncture and Endometriosis

Endometriosis , oh Endometriosis, is something I see alot in my acupuncture clinic. And one of those diseases that gets misdiagnosed so often. It is a disease in which endometrial tissue which should normally only found in the endometrial lining inside the uterus, grows outside the uterus and implants most commonly on pelvic organs such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, vagina, pelvic ligaments, uterus, rectum and bladder. The tissue develops into growths or lesions, which then responds to the menstrual cycle in the same way that the tissue of the uterine lining does: each month the tissue builds up, breaks down, and sheds. This can play havoc with the reproductive system if not managed.

Normally, menstrual blood flows from the uterus and out of the body through the vagina With endometriosis the blood and tissue shed from abnormal endometrial growths has no way of leaving the body. The result is internal bleeding, breakdown of the blood and tissue from the lesions, and inflammation. This then can cause pain, scar tissue formation, adhesions, bowel problems, and infertility.

The immune system will then kick in and can react to the pain and inflammation of endometrial adhesions by attempting to keep the body safe from this perceived threatening tissue by preventing any foreign tissue (including embryos) to implant into the endometrium until the reaction is calmed down. The cause of endometriosis is still unknown. So how do you know you could have endometriosis, well the symptoms include:

  • Severe menstrual cramps
  • Pelvic pain apart from menses
  • Backache
  • Painful intercourse
  • Fatigue
  • Heavy, dark, or clotted menstrual flow
  • Bloating

So how does Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture treat Endometriosis

Chinese medicine and Acupuncture views endometriosis as a problem of blood stasis and blood deficiency, basically it means that blood is not moving. Stagnant blood coagulates and cannot be moved through blood vessels due to insufficient energy in the pathways of the body sometimes described as a Qi Deficiency.

Blocked or insufficient energy may be due to emotional trauma, severe stress, constitutional weakness, surgical history etc.

Signs of blood stasis include stabbing pain that is fixed in one place, frequent or heavy bleeding, dark (brownish) menstrual blood, and bleeding with dark clots. Endometriosis, fibroids, and ovarian cysts are all examples of blood stasis in women. I know this is not a nice image but imagine two lakes, one where the su is shinning, water is flowing and fresh. The other, stagnant covered in a brown layer of mud, not moving – just stagnant. Imagine trying to create life in both these environments. Much more difficult in the second one.

Fortunately, this condition can be successfully treated with the help of acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and nutritional guidelines. More and more women are experiencing the benefits of these therapies which can significantly improve endometriosis, as well as improve the ability to conceive and carry a healthy baby to full term. Moving the blood, resolving the stagnation.

Acupuncture alleviates pain by increasing circulation in the pelvic organs and warming the uterus. It enhances the immune and endocrine systems by stimulating the autonomic nervous system to help eliminate stray endometrial cells. Acupuncture also relieves stress and corrects disruptions in the flow of the body’s energy, returning the body to good health. Acupuncture calms the endometrial tissue to support an embryo and support a pregnancy. In my experience it rarely cures the endometriosis, but it does an amazing job of resolving the side effects of pain and infertility.

Acupuncture helps the balance of hormonal production, improved ovarian production and ovulation, regular menstrual cycles, lower FSH levels, better egg quality, and stronger embryos.

How Western Medicine Treats Endometriosis

Western Medicine focuses on providing temporary relief from symptoms with drug therapy, but this does not cure endometriosis.

  • Oral contraceptives offer a regulated, low-dose combination of estrogen and progesterone to prevent ovulation.
  • Progesterone can also prevent ovulation and reduce circulating estrogen levels.
  • GNRH analogs are drugs that stop hormone production and ovulation. Pain medications are used to control pain.
  • Typically surgical treatment is often necessary for endometriosis patients.

Its always important of course to talk to to your doctor, have them create a strategic plan to help you through the aspects of endometriosis. A super resource is the endometriosis website Have a great day, chat soon