Acupuncture and Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a painful condition that affects millions of women worldwide. It occurs when tissue that is like the endometrial tissue within the uterus grows outside the uterus. These tissues respond to the hormonal fluctuations in a woman’s cycle that produce a menstrual period. Unlike endometrial tissue within the uterus, however, tissue outside the uterus is not able to shed with the period and instead causes inflammation and adhesions. Endometriosis may be found on the the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, bowel, cervix, and on the lining of the abdominal cavity. It may also be found in scars from previous abdominal surgeries. Rarely it is found on the lungs and in other locations.

Endometriosis can cause chronic pelvic pain as well as disabling pain during menses. Other common symptoms include low back and rectal pain, leg pain, fatigue,  digestive problems, and constipation. Infertility may also result from endometriosis. The exact cause of endometriosis from a Western medical perspective is still unknown and there is no known cure.

From a Chinese medical perspective, endometriosis is a state of blood stagnation. This view of the condition is in alignment with the Western perspective of the condition. Endometrial adhesions are sites where cells that should be eliminated from the body are stuck, i.e. blood stagnation. The goal of treatment is to alleviate pain and other symptoms, as well as to help the woman to resume her normal activities throughout the month. My approach to assisting women with endometriosis includes acupuncture, herbal medicine, diet counseling, and massage. Treatment can take time, but can be very effective in helping someone manage this painful condition.

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