Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a common condition where the tissue that behaves like the lining of the womb (the endometrium) is found outside the womb.  These pieces of tissue can be found in many different areas of the body, but they are most commonly found on the ovaries, on the lining of the pelvis behind the uterus and covering the top of the vagina.  This misplaced tissue develops into growths or lesions which respond 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. Normal menstrual blood flows from the uterus and out of the body through the vagina, but 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, which can all cause pain, scar tissue formation, adhesions, bowel problems, and infertility.

It is thought that scar tissue and adhesion’s may obstruct or distort the shape of the fallopian tubes and prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs.  This can affect the ovary function (reduced AMH) and increase the inflammatory cytokines. The immune system 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.

Endometriosis is a long term (chronic) condition that causes painful periods or heavy periods.  It can cause constipation, bloating, pain in the lower abdomen, pelvis or lower back and ranges from mild to extreme. It may also contribute towards a lack of energy and depression.  However, the symptoms of endometriosis can vary significantly and some women have few symptoms or no symptoms at all.

Acupuncture has been shown to be an effective treatment for reducing the symptoms of endometriosis and for improving fertility.  Our aim with a well structured treatment plan is to change the way endometriosis is affecting your life

How Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Treat Endometriosis

Chinese medicine views endometriosis as a problem of blood stasis, or blood not moving. Stagnant blood coagulates and cannot be moved through blood vessels due to blocked or insufficient energy in the pathways of the body. Blocked or insufficient energy may be due to emotional trauma, severe stress, constitutional weakness, surgical history, and/or exposure to cold, either cold temperatures or regular consumption of cold foods, especially during menstruation. 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.

Acupuncture has been shown to be an effective treatment for reducing the symptoms of endometriosis and for improving fertility.  Acupuncture can also provide pain relief and reduce inflammation.  Acupuncture also relieves stress and corrects disruptions in the flow of the body’s energy, returning the body to good health. Acupuncture is most effective when performed at specific times of your menstrual cycle. These will be decided in conjunction with your practitioner and will depend on your symptom picture and whether you are actively trying to conceive.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage massage is a highly specialized form of therapeutic massage that can be used to balance hormone levels.  Combined with manipulating the fascia in the pelvic cavity, this will help to unblock any obstructions and reduce any adhesion in the reproductive organs and improve blood flow to these organs.

Nutritional therapy is very important in the treatment of endometriosis. We can encourage the body to produce natural anti-inflammatory compounds with proper nutrition. Also, because endometriosis is estrogen-driven, we want to naturally decrease estrogen levels.  This process is assisted by reducing intake of alcohol, sugar, caffeine, dairy, wheat and animal protein, increasing fresh fruits & vegetables, and high-fiber whole foods.