Thankfully, it is becoming better known that 1 in 10 women globally have endometriosis. But of these women 3 in 4 experience endometriosis pain and many do not know that they can do something about it other than resort to surgery. Or that they can seek out treatment without having a confirmed diagnosis.
The aim of our practice and this article is to find a way for acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to work in harmony with Western medicine.
Endometriosis – What We Know
From a Western perspective the cause of endometriosis is unknown. It is possible that some women may have the condition due to genetics, while another option could be due to retrograde menstruation.
Treatments for endometriosis and its pain involve medications, sometimes hormone replacement therapy, and invasive surgery.
For some this type of treatment works very well. For others they see no improvement or even feel their condition worsens.
This is why we encourage women to come to us even if they do not have a confirmed diagnosis. We at AcuNatural Health can help with pain management and relief from symptoms.
TCM, Acupuncture and Endometriosis Pain
In TCM there are many factors that can contribute to endometriosis, including environmental and societal factors such as using the pill too young.
But at its heart endometriosis in TCM is an imbalance of hormones often aggravated by cold. The cramps often associated with endometriosis are the cold trapped in the body (i.e. uterus). Cold turns the blood slow and congested, which is why during menstruation the blood movement becomes more painful. The cold also makes it harder for the body to bounce back, allowing the condition to further develop.
Cold is also associated with oestrogen and too much oestrogen is linked to women with endometriosis.
For women with chronic endometriosis, inflammation is also a contributing factor. The cold has built up so much that the uterine lining is not shedding properly and turning into clots. This leads to inflammation which also causes pain.
What To Do When Endometriosis Pain Strikes
As endometriosis pain and cramps connects to cold the best thing to do is increase warmth. This is why hot water bottles are very effective and popular for helping relieve period pain. Other options include taking a warm bath or drinking warm tea.
From the TCM perspective it is especially important to keep your abdomen and legs covered and warm. Cold temperatures and wind make you weaker and more susceptible to pain.
Take It Easy
Finally it is important to take it easy during your menstruation. This is a time for resting and taking a moment to relax. Overworking, overthinking or pushing yourself too much can stress your system as well as weaken your immunity.
Tips to Reduce Future Endometriosis Pain
In TCM prevention is better than a cure.
Here are some fundamental TCM tips for helping avoid endometriosis pain:
Reduce or eliminate cold/raw foods and drinks
Add warming elements to your meals to counteract coldness (spices like ginger and cinnamon are a great start or even lightly cooking your food rather than eating it raw)
Add exercise to your daily routine (this can be as easy or intense as you want – but getting the blood flowing and warm is the idea as it will help unblock any stuck energy)
Make sure you are getting enough quality sleep
Reducing stress as much as possible (be sure to make time in your day to relax and wind down)
Process negative emotions without drawing them out as negative emotions contract your energy
Acupuncture and TCM are a great way to help reduce pain in women with endometriosis. If you are experiencing endometriosis pain or other complications from endometriosis then it is worth looking into acupuncture/TCM for help.
For more detailed information into how we help women with endometriosis please read our case study article.