Endometriosis has become an increasingly common health condition worldwide. One American doctor has labeled it “the career woman’s disease” because there seems to be a strong correlation between endometriosis and the increased stress levels experienced by so many working women today. “Endometrial tissue occurs naturally in the endometrium – a layer of tissue lining the uterus. With endometriosis, however, this tissue “migrates” to other parts of the reproductive system, or outside of the reproductive organs altogether. The main clinical manifestation of endometriosis is a recurrent, generally cyclical, lower abdominal pain that gets progressively worse. Up to 50 percent of infertile women may have endometriosis, and some studies suggest that this estrogen-sensitive disease may also cause infertility.
Symptoms and Signs
Endometriosis can begin with unusual menstrual pain during the period, the menstrual pain can become severe, spreading to the vagina, anus, hips, and inner side of the thigh. A “sinking” sensation in the anus, with abdominal pain and back soreness, can accompany the menstrual pain. Often, the pain can be severe enough to trigger bouts of nausea and vomiting, and the person can become desperate for relief. Usually, in these severe cases, most women will get referred to a gynecologist by her doctor. A pelvic examination, magnetic resonance imaging, and laparoscopy can or will confirm the diagnosis to be endometriosis. The gynecologist may suggest a hysterectomy, or hopefully, recommend Acupuncture and Chinese herbs for this condition. After a few months’ of weekly treatment with Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, endometriosis should be very well improved increasing energy and blood flow through the uterus, paving the way for pregnancy to take place. Because Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine are natural forms of therapy devoid of any side effects, the improvements can sometimes be slow-building over many months. If the disease improves slowly naturally following the body’s bio-rhythms’ then there is less likely that there will be any rebound affect after a course of treatment is complete. Usually its also good to do a maintenance course of treatment (say 6 treatments per year) after the Endometriosishas been resolved, just to keep the body’s energy flow at it’s optimal and to prevent the re-occurrence of the condition.
Surgery is often only a temporary measure, simply because endometriosis recurs in most women. Treatment with synthetic hormones will suppress the symptoms of endometriosis, but the disease itself is not cured, and symptoms will often return after discontinuing hormone therapy. Besides, the side effects of these drugs can be quite significant.
Endometriosis also happens to be exacerbated by stress, which can also cause the disease to flare up and worsen. Indeed stress is a major factor and precursor to most diseases. As the sufferer gets more stressed the disease will simply get worse. The pain can be absolutely paralyzing. This also wears down the person inducing depression, low mood, and stress which then can contribute to a weakened immune system. Endometriosis causes pain, pain then causes increased stress and that can only, in turn, weaken the immune system even more and this cycle goes on and on unless intervention in the form of Acupuncture is instigated.
Blood Stasis and Acupuncture
In Chinese medicine, the primary pattern, or mechanism, that causes endometriosis is Blood Stasis. Blood Stasis can be caused by emotional disturbance, chronic illness, and exposure to cold temperatures, surgery, and genital infections. When the Chinese pattern of disease is Blood Stasis, the objective of the treatment is to invigorate Blood and remove stasis, using both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Acupuncture along with the Chinese herbal formula Tong Jing Wan is most frequently used for dispersing Blood Stasis. In addition to Blood Stasis, there are often other disease-causing factors, which are part of the patterns of endometriosis. Cold, Heat, Deficiency, or Excess patterns are frequently part of the mix and are differentiated based on the clinical manifestations associated with each case of endometriosis. The timing, location, nature, and severity of pain are taken into account; along with associated symptoms. Scientific studies are suggesting that endometriosis is a neuro-immuno-endocrine related disease. Acupuncture can improve the functioning of the immune system, warm the womb and increase the flow of energy through the meridians, or energy pathways, in the body. Acupuncture can also stimulate the nervous system to release hormones and is very effective at relieving pain. For these reasons, acupuncture is a viable and effective treatment modality for dealing with endometriosis. The use of specific acupuncture points and herbal formulas for each pattern of endometriosis can produce dramatic improvements.