Barbara Poczyniak, R.Ac, Reg. Acupuncturist & Arvigo Therapy® Practitioner
Affecting an estimated 4-10% of women worldwide, endometriosis is an all too common disease in which cells from the uterus lining begin to grow outside the uterine cavity, usually in the abdominal area. Symptoms vary depending on a number of different factors, but severe pelvic pain is reported by many women suffering from this disease.
What is endometriosis
The cells in endometriosis form tissue in the abdomen (or sometimes elsewhere in the body) that responds to the menstrual cycle in the same way that the normal tissue lining the uterus does: each month the tissue builds up, breaks down and sheds. However, this blood and tissue from endometriosis has no way of leaving the body, as it does not shed and exit the body the same way as does regular menstrual blood and tissue.
What are the symptoms of endometriosis
The result can be painful inflammation, sometimes compounded by cysts and scarring from adhesions. It can affect ovaries, bowel and other areas within the pelvis. Women with very mild levels of endometriosis may sometimes still have very painful symptoms, while others with high levels of the growth may experience only mild discomfort. There are no fixed rules for this chronic and sometimes debilitating condition.
It may include symptoms such as:
Becomes women's symptoms may vary greatly this complex condition is often misdiagnosed by doctors and may be treated as 'a painful period' or even as a bad case of IBS. To officially diagnose endometriosis, evidence must be found during a laparascopy.
Conventional therapies for endometriosis
There is no known cure for endometriosis, and it can be difficult to treat. Most women who suffer from endometriosis assume conventional therapies (ie. prescription pain killers, anti-inflammatory drugs, surgery, hormone therapy, oral contraceptives) are the first and best course of action. It is important to become educated on the options and the potential side effects of some of these treatments as they are often not made very clear to women.
Surgery is usually suggested for more serious cases of endometriosis. Depending on the skill of the surgeon and their experience with laparoscopic surgery, excision surgery can sometimes leave scarring that can lead to new adhesions.
Other options such as hormonal therapy (ie. Luperon), are meant to 'dry up' the endometrial growth by essentially causing an early menopause. This measure leads to new and often lasting side effects associated with an early menopause. Even oral contraceptives, which are readily prescribed as the least invasive method of conventional treatment, act more to mask the problem than treat the underlying cause.
Alternative therapies for endometriosis
While each woman should discuss the pros and cons of a particular treatment approach with her doctor, thankfully alternative therapy can also work alongside conventional treatment options. Some of these include:
Treating endometriosis with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a more direct approach to treating endometriosis. Therapy may include the use of acupuncture or acupressure, cupping, herbal remedies, essential oils, lifestyle changes and diet suggestions. As endometriosis is a complex condition one or all of these may be needed as part of the holistic approach to restore the body and mind back to a healthy state.
To better understand the role of TCM in the treatment of endometriosis, it is important to see how TCM understands the body. The body's energy force, known as 'Qi', constantly flows in a healthy cycle between our organs and the pathways of the body known as meridiens. When Qi flow is blocked or slowed down, a stagnation occurs and it stops the organs from being nourished and functioning optimally. This increases the risk of pain, disease and illness.
The good news is that you can restore the healthy, regular flow of Qi and stop the cycle of pain.
While there are dozens of different styles of practicing Chinese Medicine, almost all focus on the basic approach of restoring and regulating the flow of Qi. When Qi flow is restored this also means blood and lymph fluid can flow as they are meant to in the body.
Whether used on its own, or combined with a more conventional treatment, Acupuncture and other components of Traditional Chinese Medicine are a safe, effective way to treat endometriosis symptoms while improving the body's overall health.
Give me a call today to learn how you can get on the track to better health and beat the pain and frustration of endometriosis.
Hi, I'm Barbara Poczyniak. Registered Acupuncturist practicing in Toronto.