Pinpointing the Underlying Cause of Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a common gynecological condition affecting 10-15% of women between the ages of 24 and 40. It is a real pain – quite literally. Not only is it physically painful, but it can hurt emotionally too. Between 20-40% of women who struggle with fertility have endometriosis. The most common symptoms of endometriosis are painful menstruation, painful intercourse, heavy menstruation and infertility.
Endometriosis can only be definitively diagnosed through laparoscopy, and it is when endometrial tissue, which normally lines the uterine wall persists outside of the uterus. It can grow on the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, on the outside of the uterus, in the peritoneal cavity or any other organ in the belly. It will grow and shrink in response to menstrual hormones, and can form cysts and adhesions, causing pain and potentially interfering with the normal functioning of any organ that it is attached to.
The severity of endometriosis can range from mild to severe. Depending on the severity, conventional treatment options are suppression with the birth control pill or other medication and/ or surgery. ART may or may not be a desirable option as increased hormone levels during treatment can stimulate the growth of the endometriosis.
Depending on the treatment approach, Chinese Medicine can play either a primary role or a supportive role. In severe cases, if surgery is an option, it often is the best option when trying to conceive, and Chinese Medicine can support this strategy.
Either way, unlike with surgery or suppression, the Chinese Medicine approach addresses the disease process. It’s not just about getting rid of the unwanted pathological tissue- it’s also about looking at why it is there in the first place and addressing that underlying issue.
Actually, most women have retrograde menstrual flow resulting in endometrial tissue outside of the uterus, but in most cases, the tissue is reabsorbed and doesn’t persist. So what is it that prevents this normal physiological reabsorption from happening?
This is the question that we address in the Chinese Medical approach to endometriosis. And there are numerous possible answers. No two cases are exactly alike. It could be due to a deficiency or it could be due to a blockage or it could be both. Mapping out your body’s pattern of imbalance and identifying where the deficiency and/or blockage lies can help us understand and address why this tissue is growing where it shouldn’t be. Addressing this underlying imbalance in addition to being rid of the pathological endometrial tissue can play a key role in your journey towards a healthy pregnancy.
Studies indicate that acupuncture and herbs are effective in treatment of endometrial pain and inflammation. Read about how one patient successfully beat the odds with a successful pregnancy despite being diagnosed with stage four endometriosis.
Dr. Alda Ngo