Chinese traditional medicine and endometriosis

Traditional Chinese medicine is over 4,000 years old and is based on the harmonic flow of blood and Qi through the body.

There are two principal theories in TCM, the first being that of the opposite energies Yin – Yang and the other that of the 5 elements, where each element of nature is equivalent to a certain organ in our body: Metal corresponds to the Lung, Earth to the Pancreas Spleen, Wood to the Liver, Water to the Kidney and Fire to the Heart.

From the perspective of Chinese medicine, endometriosis is seen as an impairment of blood circulation in the pelvis, possibly aggravated by an imbalance of the Liver, Kidney, Pancreas Spleen, and ‘cold invasion’.

So the principle of the treatment is to restore regular blood flow.

And what is endometriosis in traditional medicine?

Endometriosis is characterized by the presence of endometrial tissue outside the uterus, a common disease affecting 1 in 10 women.

The endometrium is the innermost layer of the uterus, and during the menstrual cycle, it undergoes modifications to receive the baby, and when the pregnancy does not happen, the endometrium is expelled during menstruation.

The most common TCM theory for endometriosis is the return of menstrual blood through the tubes, which then establishes in the belly.
In women predisposed to endometriosis, endometrial cells present in menstrual blood ‘take root’ and grow in the different organs of the pelvis.

Endometriosis affects women in the reproductive phase, that is, during the period in which menstruations occur, reducing and ending during menopause.

Types of endometriosis:

Endometriosis can have different presentations, but it is basically divided into 3 types:

Superficial;
Deep;
Ovarian.

And the main symptoms of endometriosis are:

Colic in the menstrual period;
Pain during sexual intercourse especially at depth (dyspareunia);
Chronic pelvic pain;
Diarrhea, constipation or pain during evacuation, and during the menstrual period;
Pain at urination during the menstrual period;
Appearance of a nodule associated with pain in the cesarean scar;
Outflow of secretions, blood or umbilical pain (endometriosis in the navel);

Pain in the right shoulder during menstruation (endometriosis in the diaphragm);
Infertility, regardless of painful symptoms;
Chronic fatigue;
Abdominal distension;
Endometriosis in the intestines

And what is the treatment for endometriosis?

Treatment should be aimed primarily at resolving symptoms. In women with symptoms treatment can be as follows:

Hormonal treatment;
Endometriosis surgery;
Traditional Chinese medicine;
Other Alternative Treatments;
The treatment of endometriosis should be done individually, focused on symptoms, after a detailed consultation about treatment options.

A brief survey of the literature offers many studies where use of acupuncture and Chinese phytotherapy was incorporated to the treatment of endometriosis.

Many of them show an improvement in pelvic pain by decreasing the local inflammatory reaction.

Other studies show a decrease in post-surgical recurrence and a higher rate of pregnancy when we include Chinese medicine alongside conventional treatment.

It is noteworthy that treating endometriosis by TCM is not just about needling; we should also focus on changing our lifestyle, getting more hours of restorative sleep, regular physical activity, decreasing the consumption of some inflammatory foods such as animal milk, white flour – gluten and sugar, in addition to reducing the stresses of everyday life.

There is no formula prescription and patients diagnosed with endometriosis should be evaluated individually.

There is no better herbal or acupuncture system for endometriosis, what is best is a tailored treatment for each patient.

After all, a diagnosis in Western medicine can have several in traditional Chinese medicine.

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