The Treatment of Endometriosis with Traditional Chinese Medicine
Endometriosis is defined as the presence of endometrial tissue outside the uterus. Endometriosis is diagnosed by laparoscopy and is commonly found on the back of the uterus, on the Fallopian tubes, bowel or bladder, or around the ovaries.
Some common symptoms of endometriosis are
- dark clotted menstrual blood
- abdominal pain and cramping
- painful intercourse
- spotting before period
- masses or nodules felt on palpation
- if charting basal body temperature you may find that the temperature does not drop very much with menstruation or if the temperature does drop it will rise after day 2 or 3.
Although these are the common symptoms some women have absolutely no symptoms of endometriosis and the diagnosis is made through a laparoscopy, other times severe pain and clotting may be associated with only a small amount of endometriosis.
In traditional Chinese medicine a treatment plan is formed to help resolve the endometriosis, often including acupuncture, herbal medicine, and dietary and lifestyle suggestions to promote blood flow and strengthen any underlying imbalances.
In Chinese medicine endometriosis is diagnosed as blood stasis if there are symptoms such as dark clotted menstrual blood and abdominal pain and masses. Accompanying symptoms may include spider veins, ashen complexion, ovarian pain with ovulation, and painful breast lumps.
It is also important to treat the underlying cause of the endometriosis, the reason for the blood stasis,
Some of these include
- Liver qi stagnation where emotional issues and stress cause the energy and blood in the body to stagnate. Often accompanying symptoms would be irritability, PMS, breast distension, menstrual headaches.
- Spleen qi deficiency may also be involved in causing the formation of blood stasis or phlegm. Symptoms of spleen deficiency include a heavy bearing down sensation in the abdomen, premenstrual spotting, heavy bleeding, abdominal bloating, sweet cravings, loose stools, fatigue, and hemorrhoids.
- Kidney yang deficiency may also be a factor in endometriosis, causing cysts and dampness to accumulate in the body. Symptoms of kidney yang deficiency include frequent clear urination, nighttime urination, lower back pain, tinnitus, copious clear cervical fluid, cold hands and feet, feeling colder than those around you.
Acupuncture– weekly acupuncture treatments are suggested to promote blood flow to the reproductive organs and regulate hormonal levels.
Herbal medicine– a personalized formula is prescribed depending on the individual diagnosis as well as the time of the menstrual cycle. Different formulas may be given at different times of the month throughout a woman’s cycle, this is especially important if a woman is trying to conceive. These personalized herbal formulas regulate hormone levels and help remove any obstructions from the reproductive organs.
- castor oil packs can be used to stimulate blood flow before and during menstruation
- deep breathing and relaxation techniques to promote blood flow through the reproductive system
- abdominal massage, rubbing the abdomen in a clockwise motion for a few minutes daily from menstruation to ovulation.
- hot water bottle or heating pad applied to abdomen daily
- do not use tampons during menstruation
- refrain from intercourse during menstruation
Foods to promote blood flow and prevent blood stagnation
- chestnut, walnuts
- crab, white fish
- chives, scallion, onion, mustard leaf, eggplant, dark green leafy vegetables, Brussels sprouts, beets, turnips, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, carrots.
- hawthorn berries, peaches, lemons, limes, grapes, raspberries
- seaweed, spirulina
Foods to Avoid
– Do not overeat or eat late at night
– Limit greasy, fatty foods
– Limit stimulants such as sugar, coffee, alcohol
– Eat organically whenever possible
– Avoid cold food and drink, better to have room temperature beverages and lightly cooked foods
Traditional Chinese medicine has been treating gynecological disorders for over three thousand years. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine help to regulate the menstrual cycle, relieve pain and endometriosis however this does take time. Remember you did not get this way overnight, generally at least three menstrual cycles are needed to regulate and rebalance the body.