NATURAL TREATMENT SOLUTIONS FOR ENDOMETRIOSIS
Endometriosis is a hormonal and immune disease in which cells similar to the endometrium or uterine lining, grow outside the uterine cavity, often on the peritoneum or surrounding abdominal organs. Common symptoms include pain and infertility, with pain often worse during menstruation and often with excess clotting. It may also be present around ovulation, during sex (dysparerunia), and bowel movements. The pain is so bad in some cases that women will miss work and social engagements as they manage their discomfort using a variety of strategies, including pain medication, heat, rest, or other remedies.
For many women, pain and cramping prior to or during menstruation has been a symptom that they have always associated with menstruation and was presumed to be normal. Pain is the body’s way of telling us there is something blocked and/or out of balance. Pain and cramping with menstruation may be normal or common for many women, but it does not mean it is ideal or healthy, and may indicate Endometriosis.
The prevalence of endometriosis is much more common than you might think, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada report that 1 in 10 women of reproductive age have endometriosis and it was found to be present in at least half of the women who report experiencing chronic pelvic pain. For many women it may go undiagnosed until later in life when they experience fertility challenges.
Available conventional medical treatments for Endometriosis are aimed at reducing pain and inflammation such as analgesics (ibuprofen – Advil, Motrin), suppressing hormonal fluctuations such as oral contraceptives, surgical removal of the endometrial growths, or if more severe, complete removal of the reproductive organs (hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy).
The practice committee for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) outlined that “Acupuncture can also be considered an adjunct therapy for pelvic pain associated with Endometriosis. Two randomized studies evaluated specific versus sham acupuncture for Endometriosis pain and both reported significantly better pain relief with true acupuncture (non-sham)” In addition to acupuncture, it was also found that there were randomized clinical trials comparing Chinese herbal medicine treatment to Gestrinone and Danazol which concluded that “Chinese herbal medicine had comparable results with fewer side effects”.
HOW ACUPUNCTURE & CHINESE HERBAL MEDICINE CAN HELP
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can be very effective at addressing symptoms associated with endometriosis. Our primary goal is to reduce pain with secondary goals being to improve fertility, balance hormone levels, reduce inflammation surrounding the ovaries and uterus, and regulate heavy menstrual bleeding. In some cases symptoms are worse around ovulation and increase until menstruation, warranting treatment focus at that time (luteal phase).
After being a long time Endometriosis sufferer since my late teens I came to grips about my infertility issues after two major abdominal surgeries within one year. My husband and I had been trying to conceive for over 2 years. After my second surgery I was referred to Dr. Pentland for treatment before and while we were undergoing IVF treatments at PCRM. If only I had met him years ago!! Not only did he help with pain, bloating, fatigue, anxiety, his patient and kind ear was a wonderful bonus. I always felt better after my weekly then bi-weekly treatments…never did I think sticking needles in my body would help or make a difference but man was i wrong! Never a patient of ‘alternative’ medicine I felt an immediate difference in my physical well being and will be a true believer and supporter of Dr Pentland for as long as i live and will recommend him to anyone! Today I write this being the most thankful and lucky patient ever…we’re 17 and a half weeks along with TWINS! ~. Carrie E
Since the presentation of symptoms varies amongst women, the combination of treatment options that work for one woman may not necessarily work for another. This is where a holistic approach that addresses the individual and their unique presentation can be so beneficial. Using a combined approach of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, as well as dietary and lifestyle recommendations, relief of symptoms will often be seen in a few menstrual cycles. The conventional medical treatment of endometriosis typically involves oral contraceptive therapy which suppresses the growth of endometriotic tissue and/or surgery to remove the lesions. The approach with Chinese medicine treats the condition by addressing the specific mechanism causing pain and reducing other sources of inflammation that may be contributing to the full set of symptoms experienced. Therefore, treatment with acupuncture and herbal medicine can be either complementary or as an alternative to medical interventions.