Endometriosis affects 10-15 percent of women between the ages of 24 and 40 years of age. Endometriosis is an autoimmune condition which refers to the abnormal growth of endometrial tissue outside the endometrium (the lining of the uterus), where endometrial cells are normally found. Endometrial cells somehow migrate and implant in areas outside the uterus, including the cervix, the vaginal-rectal space, the ovary, the fallopian tubes, the colon and the bladder wall. Endometrial cells also have been found in the abdominal wall muscles, the lungs, the nose, even the brain. The cause of endometriosis is not clear, but is has been strongly linked to immune system dysfunction and exposure to dioxins and other toxic chemicals that accumulate in the fat stores of fish, animals, and people.
Endometriosis is classified according to its severity. The classification does not seem to directly determine its impact on fertility.
Symptoms of Endometriosis:
Mild: Small, flat patches of endometrial tissue growing outside the uterine lining,
Moderate: Larger, often somewhat raised implants, and
Severe: Inflammation and scarring caused by the unabsorbed blood can form in bands of fibrous scar tissue, adhesions that bind pelvic organs together restricting their movement and potentially causing pain.
• Pain with or before menses
• Pelvic pain at other times of a women’s cycle
• Pain with intercourse
• Pain with bowel movement/urination during menses
• Lower back pain
• Irregular bleeding
• Heavy or clotted menses
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine are an effective treatment for decreasing pain, regulating the smooth flow of blood from the uterus and decrease the body’s immune response. By realigning the body’s energies the optimal environment for uterine health and successful conception can occur.
Treatment Suggestion and Frequency:
The Chinese Medicine approach to Endometriosis is to identify and treat the underlying condition that is causing the hormonal imbalance as well as to alleviate symptoms. While every patient’s individual needs are different, the general rule of thumb is 3-6 months of treatment prior to natural or assisted conception. A 3-month minimum is the time it takes to balance and regulate the reproductive system so that healthy eggs and uterine lining are produced. Acupuncture treatments are typically performed weekly and Chinese herbal formulas are added to further balance the body.
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