Do you suffer from intense pains during your menstruation?
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine are beneficial and effective in the treatment of the condition known as endometriosis, and can relieve the intense pain from which you are suffering.
In addition, the treatment for this condition with Chinese Medicine regulates and balances the monthly cycle, as well as supports the woman’s fertility issues, should there be any, and her process of becoming pregnant.
Endometriosis – General Background
The uterine tissue which lines the uterus is called the endometrium. The disorder in which this tissue grows outside the uterus is called endometriosis. For reasons unclear as yet to the medical profession, there is a wandering of the uterine tissue to other structures outside the uterus, the most common places being the pelvic cavity and the reproductive organs, such as the fallopian tubes and the ovaries. The endometrial tissue can also appear in organs that are located in anatomical proximity to the uterus, such as the urinary bladder, the large intestine and the rectum.
Hormonal fluctuations appearing during the monthly cycle affect the uterine tissue, the endometrium. In endometriosis, the tissue located outside the uterus is also affected by these hormonal changes, leading to bleeding from the area where that displaced tissue is locate. This bleeding causes adhesions in nearby tissues as well as an inflammatory process which causes intense pain.
Endometirosis – Causes and Incidence
It is still unclear why some women develop this condition while others don’t. There are many existing theories regarding the mechanism which generates the exo-uterine (outside the uterus) tissue.
Various researches estimate that 5-10% of women in fertile age suffer from this disorder. 50% of women who suffer from menstrual pains also have endometirosis as a condition. Most women are not aware of the existence of this disorder.
Endometriosis – Symptoms
The most common symptoms for the majority of women suffering from this condition is pain during the monthly cycle. In most cases, this pain will be in the lower abdomen and the pelvic region. Additional symptoms will depend on the location of the endometriosis and the inflammatory process. The main symptoms are:
- Intense menstrual pains leading to impairment of quality of life. These pains can appear in the lower abdomen, lower back, pelvis, vagina, rectum, and even in body areas distant to the reproductive region, depending on on the location of the endometrial tissue.
- Heavy, abnormal, and/or irregular menstruation
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Infertility: research shows that in 30% of women suffering from infertility, endometriosis is the prime cause.
- Urinary disorders: recurring UTI (urinary tract infections – cystitis), pain during urination or urgency to urinate, especially during the menstruation days of the monthly cycle.
- Disorders in the digestive system : diarrhea, pain during bowel movements, constipation,all appearing mostly during the menstruation days of the monthly cycle.
This treatment approach includes pain relief medication and/or an invasive procedure to identify, diagnose and remove the tissue. It is important to note that this invasive procedure in some cases does have a positive effect on the pain and the additional complaints, yet unfortunately the surgery is not suitable for every woman or in every situation. Oftentimes the condition returns after the surgery is performed.
The medicinal treatment is also to be considered, and includes prescriptions for contraceptive pills and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). This treatment, of course, does not cure the disease, and often includes various complicated side effects which come with the medications. Medications can cause a decrease in estrogen levels, which in turn may lead to symptoms resembling those of menopause, such as hot flashes, irritability and vaginal dryness.
Endometriosis – Chinese Medicine
Chinese Medicine can help in this type of condition. The length and success rate of the treatment both depend on the severity of the condition. Often the treatment will include the combination of Chinese Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine. The main objective in the initial stages of the treatment will be to focus on reducing the menstrual pains and the accompanying symptoms, in order the return to the patient her quality of life. In the advanced stage of treatment, the focus will be on regulating and balancing the monthly cycle, treatment of infertility issues if necessary and regulation of all other systems which have been injured by the condition.
Endometriosis – Acupuncture
Acupuncture, which is part of Chinese medicine treatment modalities, is commonly used in Asia and in recent decades its popularity has increased in Western countries. In 2003, the World Health Organization published a comprehensive review on controlled clinical trials studying acupuncture and outlined 64 conditions for which acupuncture has proven to be an effective treatment. Among them are several types of pain-related conditions, both acute and chronic and including menstrual pain.
Read the UK’S National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline (NG193), which recommend Acupuncture as an effective option in managing chronic pain.
Read the BBC news article about NICE guideline
Chinese medicine in general, and acupuncture in particular, have much to offer in the field of pain management and women’s health treatment and including the following disorders:
- Menstrual cramps-dysmenorrhea. To read more press here
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Vulvodynia – chronic discomfort or pain of the vulva
- Pelvic pain and pelvic floor disorder