What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis occurs when the cells of the endometrium grow outside of the uterus cavity. This abnormal cell growth can cause issues such as pelvic pain, heavy bleeding or even infertility. Many women though don’t show any symptoms at all, and often its only discovered through routine scans. The underlying cause from a Western Medicine perspective is unknown, but they do have several treatment options available either with hormone therapy or laser surgery to burn off the affected cells. I see this often in clinic and I’m surprised how women say they’ve had their endometriosis “fixed”. The formation of the abnormal cells is a symptom, not the disease, therefore even though you’ve had them removed the underlying mechanism hasn’t been corrected.
What Causes Endometriosis?
In Acupuncture Endometriosis can have several different pathological pathways to develop, but it always results in what we call “heat in the blood”. Heat, like in nature can causes things to move more rapidly and generally speeds up processes. Here it causes the blood to move recklessly and leak out of the vessels. Heat also causes stagnations and inflammation which leads to the associated pelvic pain. In these cases the heat in the blood attacks the uterus, where in eczema it attacks the skin. The heat in the blood can develop for several reasons, often I see its due to lifestyle and diet issues, or a family history which points to a disposition for generating heat in the blood. What I find clinically in a lot of these cases, and similar for women too who’ve had hysterectomy’s, that even though you’ve had corrective surgery, the heat pathology is still occurring and will eventually find another avenue to cause problems. Depending on how long its been going on, the heat in the blood can do permanent damage to the cell lining which is how Acupuncture explains the appearance of precancerous cells developing.
How Dr. Steven uses Acupuncture as a Treatment for Endometriosis
The goals of treatment are to reduce the pain and bleeding. To do this we need to reduce the inflammation. As stated above, this is described as ‘heat in the blood’ in Acupuncture terms. I select points which target the uterus to drive out the excess heat to help reduce the pain being caused. Often women will experience heavier but less painful periods initially. This is actually good as the excess blood and heat is physically being removed from the uterus. Hopefully over time the pain relief will last longer and your cycles may become less painful.
Currently there is no high quality research to show if Acupuncture is at all effective in treating endometriosis. A systematic review in 2017 concluded: “Few randomised, blinded clinical trials have addressed the efficacy of acupuncture in treating endometriosis-related pain. Nonetheless, the current literature suggests that acupuncture reduces pain and serum CA-125 levels, regardless of the control intervention used. To confirm these findings, additional, blinded studies with proper controls and adequate sample sizes are needed.” – What this means is that although these results are favourable, they cannot be confirmed due to small sample size and improper methodology. Hopefully this review will encourage further scientific investigation.
Related Endometriosis Symptoms to look for:
Many women don’t realise that other symptoms they are experiencing also relate to the development of their Endometriosis. As this is a heat pathology, other symptoms which in Acupuncture are related include:
- Hot hands and Feet
- Constant thirst
- Night sweats, difficulty sleeping
- Acne and rashes
These are all symptoms of excess heat within the body, and can also be addressed as part of the treatment.
If you would like to discuss this further, or any other health concerns, feel free to call the clinic on 9796 2388