Endometriosis is a challenging medical problem in which tissue that is biologically the same as that found in the endometrium is found outside the uterus. The condition can be very painful, and cause infertility in some women, so many women seek alternative treatment options in addition to their traditional medical treatments.
Many women attend my clinic who have endometriosis and/or endometriosis related infertility.
A common gynaecological problem, endometriosis has a number of symptoms. These include:
- Irregular periods
- Period pain
- Painful bowel movements
- Painful urination
- Pain during intercourse
- Fatigue, diarrhoea and/or constipation during your menses
Traditional Chinese medicine can assist with endometriosis related pain and period pain, as well as help your stress around your other symptoms.
Alternative Therapy Treatments for Endometriosis
There are a number of alternative therapy treatments used with endometriosis. These include:
- Herbal products – There are a number of Chinese herbs that have been used to help with endometriosis related symptoms. Chinese herbs have been used in conjunction with traditional medicines to shrink endometriosis tissue, alleviate pain, reduce the recurrence of the condition, and reduce stress to improve the likelihood of pregnancy.
- Acupuncture – Acupuncture is a holistic energy driven approach, and works by targeting specific points on the body with needles. 30 minutes is all that is needed for an acupuncture session, and many patients report feeling less pain after a treatment.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Endometriosis Studies
A number of studies have been completed on the effects of Chinese medicine on endometriosis. Three of these are described below:
One study completed in China aimed to find out if Chinese medicine could relieve endometriosis associated pain. The study found that Chinese medicine is more effective than Danazol (a steroid that is regularly used to treat the condition in the Western world) in treating the problem. Not only did Chinese medicine provide relief from the symptoms, it also shrunk adnexal masses, and led to improved fertility rates.
This study by Flowers et al had similar findings to the one described above. The researchers set out to find out if Chinese herbs were as effective as Western medicine. What they discovered was that when compared to Gestrinone there was no difference in the outcome. However, when compared to Danazol, Chinese herbs had better results with all the women who received the herbal treatment displaying lesser symptoms.
A recent study by Yang Xu et al, explored the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment for endometriosis-related pain. Analysis of 589 patients showed acupuncture reduced pain and serum CA-125 levels in patients.
However, more clinical studies are needed to confirm these findings. Remember, Traditional Chinese Medicines should only be used as directed by a qualified health professional, and they will advise you whether these products are suitable for your condition. If symptoms persist, see your doctor.
If you have been suffering from endometriosis and want to explore Chinese medicine or acupuncture as an adjunct to your current treatment, please get in touch with us.