Endometriosis is a painful condition in which the mucous membrane lining the uterus (endometrium) is found in other parts of the body. Problems arise with each menstrual cycle when this lining is shed, and the tissue outside of the uterus also bleeds, causing pain and inflammation. Over time, this can result in the formation of scar tissue, cysts and adhesions.
The condition is often poorly understood, the precise cause unknown and clinical presentation can vary greatly. The condition is more common in women who haven't had children and is often associated with infertility. Although, it has also been argued that infertility may itself be a cause of endometriosis. Endometriosis is also associated with ovulatory dysfunction, which can predate the onset of endometriosis.
While there are a number of possible predispositions, endometriosis has been found in women of all racial backgrounds, all socio-economic groups, ageing from 14 years to 57 years. Due to the condition's diverse array of causes and symptoms, conventional treatment is poorly standardised and often ineffectual. While symptomatic presentation can suggest endometriosis, diagnosis is only through laparoscopy, a minor surgical procedure.
From a natural medicine point of view, there is no standard endometriosis treatment, just as there is no standard asthma or arthritis treatment. For any one condition there are specifics that should not be ignored, but beyond these the treatment is tailored to the needs of the individual.
Acupuncture can play a very valuable role in the treatment of endometriosis. Needling the abdomen aids the flow of blood and energy to the reproductive organs, reducing congestion and providing significant pain relief. Needling the lower abdominal area reminds the body that there is a pathology present that needs to be corrected.
Various herbs are used to treat endometriosis, these include: Chaste tree - to balance oestrogen excess; Echinacea & Calendula - to address immune dysfunction; Dong quai - to remove blood stasis, and as a female tonic; Paeonia - to balance the hormones. It is always important to discuss your condition with a professional before starting on a course of herbs, so that the most appropriate combination can be selected for you.
- Green tea may reduce the risk of breast cancer
- How can I get enough calcium?
- Omega 3: how it can help menopausal symptoms
- Osteoporosis - myths and facts
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS): can natural medicine help?
- Understanding endometriosis