Endometriosis is a condition that affects over 2 million women in the UK. It’s effects are different with every woman, often painful and debilitating, and we are dedicated to helping you to understand how to manage and treat the way that endometriosis affects you.
Our aim is to help you to approach changing the way that endometriosis is affecting your life with a well structured treatment plan.
We are here to help bring all the wisdom of Chinese medicine to apply the acupuncture, herbs and dietary guidelines that can really help you to change the way this condition is affecting you. For women, healthy periods are the benchmark of fluent and supple health and we will work with you to help to get you to a place where your periods are just a normal and comfortable part of your genuine health.
“Endometriosis can be a very pervasive intrusion into having a normal life”
There is a quote from Donna Vogel of the American National Institute of health saying that “Studying endometriosis is like nailing jello to a tree”. This pretty much sums up the fact that this disorder, that affects an estimated 70 (!) million women around the world, is yet little understood despite research since 1889 when it was first identified. No-one really knows what is causing this epidemic, and though there is much speculation there is no determined understanding of what causes this condition.
Endometriosis, which is often experienced as recurring pain in the pelvis, is a condition where small fragments of the lining of the womb (the endometrium) appear outside the womb. This can be on the vagina, rectum, bladder, bowel, uterus, ovaries or the fallopian tubes, anywhere within the pelvic cavity.. The pain, which is often cramping of the lower back, the pelvis, over the abdomen, near the rectum or even the legs, ranges from mild to extreme.
However, the pain that you feel does not necessarily tell you the stage or extent of the condition. Sometimes you can have extensive endometriosis – even scarring – with little or no pain while others have a few small areas of the condition and serious pain. There is no easy correlation between what you experience and what the physical reality is. This is one of the key factors that has so flummoxed the researchers of this subject through these last 125 years!
Symptoms of Endometriosis
Women experiencing endometriosis may have any combination of these sorts of symptoms, in the breadth of the spectrum from mild discomfort to debilitating pain.
Endometriosis presents in many guises; as lesions, cysts or blebs (a real word) plus a long list of descriptions including raspeberries and blueberries (really!).
One of the key characteristics of endometriosis though is it's propensity to cause adhesions, which is often at the core of why the experience of endometriosis can be so painful.
Typical symptoms include:
ongoing pain of the pelvis – often with abdominal or lower back pain which can be or accompanied by nausea or vomiting
painful, sometimes disabling cramps; pain getting worse over time (dysmenorrhea)
painful sex (dyspareunia)
urinary urgency, frequency, and sometimes painful voiding (dysuria)
It is not uncommon that endometriosis will affect fertility:
distortion of the position of the fallopian tubes and/or ovaries
activated macrophages (immune response) that can consume the sperm
excess cytokines (toxic to sperm and eggs)
excess mucous production that can obstruct the fallopian tube
causes hormone imbalances esp to LH and progesterone
uterine abnomalities that can prevent normal implantation
With Chinese medicine we approach endometriosis with an ambition to help clean up the pelvic cavity, to improve function and to facilitate healthy periods and normal conception.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for Endometriosis
Endometriosis can respond very well indeed to treatment with Chinese medicine. Acupuncture, moxabustion, and especially herbs work to sort out the communication in the channel systems to help streamline improved functionality, and as a result the symptomatic pain/fertility problems can diminish.
It is important that we understand how the condition developed for you and so we will take a comprehensive look at your medical history (menstruation, contraception use, conception, surgery and possibly genital infection) as well as any relevant family background. All this information is then analyased in the context of the way that endometriosis manifests for you - your particular symptoms - and importantly, we want to understand when you are experiencing them throughout each phase of your menstrual cycle.
Endometriosis can only be accurately diagnosed through laprascopic examination, so your ‘lap’ report is a very important part of helping us to make the best TCM diagnosis for treatment. If you have not had a laproscopy we are very well situated to help refer you to our Trusted Associates or to help point you in the right direction to action either a private or an NHS investigation process.
The lap report is vital, as there are many different kinds of endometrial cysts and lesions, and your report will help us to clearly understand exactly what the cameras have determined about the character and location(s) of your endometriosis.
We will treat in accordance with the menstrual phases, meaning that your treatments will be timed according to whether you are menstruating (phase 1), preovulatory (2), post ovulatory (3) or premenstrual (4). We apply different approaches according to the phases and the treatment is geared to helping to treat what is termed in Chinese diagnosis as ‘blood stagnation’ and/or ‘blood stasis’, ie: blood that is accumulated in an inappropriate place and is not moving.
Endometriosis is not the easiest condition to treat and we suggest that an ongoing course of Chinese herbs and acupuncture is the best approach. In our opinion Chinese herbs are the front line treatment for endometriosis as we have many know tried and tested (for centuries!) prescriptions which are particularly about moving blood stagnation and stasis.
Corrective dietary guidelines are essential in the management of endometriosis, and from the perspective of Chinese medicine this needs to be matched to your constitutional diagnosis. As well as offering you all the dietary guidelines for resolving blood stagnation plus any other factors that may be influencing your condition - hot or cold, damp or dry, etc - we also have our Associate nutritionists who can help support you with any Western dietary and nutritional supplementation that you might need.
Our ambition is to in every way help you to do all that you can to manage the endometriosis, in a way that it will bring ease/resolve to your symptoms, to the point of no longer imposing on your health and well being.