Endometriosis can be the source of a lot of pain and suffering for women: heavy bleeding and very intense, sharp pain during their period, and possibly infertility. Endometriosis occurs when the endometrial tissue that normally only lines the uterus each month in preparation for growing a fetus begins to grow elsewhere in the pelvis. It can sometimes grow around the fallopian tubes, ovaries, the bladder, and even around the bowels.
There are very few treatments in allopathic medicine for endometriosis, and none can really prevent recurrence. The most common solution is lifelong birth control pills to manage hormones, reduce pain, and stabilize the menstrual cycle. Other options include minor surgeries, or in less severe cases, pain medication.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has a different approach and understanding of the condition. In TCM, endometriosis is a form of blood stagnation, usually seen in conjunction with Qi stagnation, Qi deficiency, Liver depression, or weak spleen. TCM would address both the pain of endometriosis and the underlying condition so as to provide relief on both levels.
A TCM approach to treatment would include acupuncture, herbs, and possibly cupping or scraping. These would be used to help move and circulate blood, dispel blood (eg clots and endometrial tissue) from the localized area, move Qi, activate the spleen, encourage flow of Liver Qi, strengthen Qi, and reduce pain. The acupoints chosen could include local points over the lower abdomen (“dan tian“), or points along key meridians that address liver, spleen, Qi stagnation, that move blood, relieve pain, and strengthen Qi.
A course of Chinese herbs for endometriosis may be 3-6 months, depending on the severity and how long you’ve had it.
There is good news, though! A number of women with consistent effort of dietary changes, adding exercises, managing stress and emotions, using herbs and acupuncture have significantly reduced their pain or even cured themselves of endometriosis. There is hope, but so far no one-size-fits-all quick and easy approach exists to treating endometriosis with Chinese Medicine.