Endometriosis is one of the leading causes of pelvic pain that we see at Eastern Bench. Endometriosis is a condition where endometrial tissue, which should be located inside the uterus only, is found elsewhere in the body. It is a fairly common condition, affecting up to 10% of women aged 16-50, and it is believed to be the cause of infertility in 30-50% of all infertile women. The cause of endometriosis is still unclear.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), one of the most important causes of endometriosis is "blood stasis". "Blood stasis" is blood that congeals or gets stuck, brought about by blocked energy in the pathways of the body or not enough energy to push the blood through the vessels. Blocked or insufficient energy may be caused by emotional trauma, severe stress, constitutional weakness, surgical history, and/or exposure to cold: either exposure to cold temperatures outside or habitual consumption of raw and cold foods, especially during menstruation. Signs of "blood stasis" include sharp, stabbing pain that is fixed in one place, frequent or heavy bleeding, and bleeding with dark purple clots. Chronic stagnation (stuck energy) causes clots which can have a tendency to manifest as masses or lumps. Endometriosis, fibroids, and ovarian cysts are all examples of blood stasis in women.
Mainstream medical treatments for endometriosis include hormonal therapies or surgery. These therapies are temporary, suppress the symptoms, and can have significant side effects. Drug therapy completely shuts down the activity of the ovaries (Lupron is one example) and, even though surgery is often successful there is a high degree of recurrence. Rather than using a 'band-aid' approach to care, TCM seeks to address the root cause of the endometriosis and prevent recurrence.
There is a strong link between endometriosis and infertility. Scar tissue and adhesions can obstruct or distort the shape of the fallopian tubes preventing the ovaries from releasing eggs. Endometriosis may also affect fertility by causing hormonal imbalances and a higher rate of miscarriage. Acupuncture and herbal medicine help to break down blood clots/congealed blood, dissolve masseseliminate stray endometrial cells, relieve stress, and correct homronal imbalances and irregular cycles. Acupuncture can also help relieve pain associated with endometriosis.
Ways You Can Help Yourself:
- Regular exercise promotes blood flow and helps improve symptoms.
- The liver is responsible for metabolizing estrogen so supporting good liver function i spart of a holistic strategy for endometriosis. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine supports good lifer function.
- Adopting a low fat, high fiber, mostly plant based diet helps to relieve some of the symptoms associated with endometriosis.