Acupuncture and Endometriosis by Alisa Wong

Endometriosis and Traditional Chinese Medicine
According to the World Endometriosis Society, endometriosis affects about 176 million women worldwide usually between the ages of 15 to 49. It is estimated that 1 out of 10 women have endometriosis. There is no known cure but traditional Chinese medicine has been used to treat symptoms related to endometriosis for thousands of years now. Symptoms often include painful areas of the low back, low abdomen, pelvis, rectum, vagina; pain during sex or defecating; irregular, heavy, painful menstruation; constipation, nausea, fullness of the abdomen, and infertility. These symptoms are caused by endometrial tissue growing outside of the uterus. Normally, endometrial tissue grows inside the uterus where it is shed every month when women menstruate. When this tissue grows outside the uterus it induces a chronic inflammatory reaction that creates scar tissue on the uterus causing the symptoms listed above.
So, what can Chinese medicine do to help?
Chinese medicine is very good at helping relieve symptoms of endometriosis and prevents additional growth of scar tissue but it cannot shrink the growth of the scar tissue you already have. Some modalities of Chinese medicine that can help endometriosis include acupuncture, moxibustion, herbs, and diet therapy.
Acupuncture
In acupuncture, when fine needles are inserted, manipulated and retained in the body it stimulates the nervous system. When the nervous system is stimulated, signals are sent to the brain and spinal cord to release neural hormones into the body. These chemicals help heal the body to regulate hormones, promote blood flow to the uterus and relieve pain.
Moxibustion
Moxibustion is a therapy that uses a herb called Folium Artemisiae Vulgaris, which is burned to help warm and stimulate the body to help relieve symptoms of endometriosis. Moxibustion can be used on its own or in conjunction with acupuncture to further boost its effects to help the body heal.
Herbal Therapy
Chinese herbs are mostly plant based but some are animal and mineral based. They are typically used as a tea to drink but they can also be put into lotions, oils, pills, tablets, and pastes, depending on how you want to use them. They are often used alone or in conjunction with acupuncture to further help heal the body of undesirable symptoms of endometriosis. Herbs used in treating endometriosis include those that stop excessive bleeding, reduce pain, reduce masses, moves qi, improves blood circulation, and reduces inflammation.
Diet Therapy
What you eat is very important in Chinese medicine. Food alone can often change how the body feels. When we eat food that is nourishing to our bodies that food helps us heal from within. In endometriosis, some women report eating a low fat, high fiber and a mostly plant-based diet have seen some relief in their symptoms. Women with endometriosis are advised not smoke, take recreational drugs, eat cold raw foods, and they should limit the amount of caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar, dairy and gluten in their diet.

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