Finding relief from endometriosis with conventional medicine can feel like a game of Russian roulette. Some therapies work for some women some of the time, but it tends to be hit or miss.
Chinese medicine treats endometriosis differently. In fact, Chinese medicine has an excellent track record with managing a wide range of women’s health conditions because of its unique, individualized approach.
Read on to learn more about endometriosis and how Chinese herbal medicine can help!
What is Endometriosis?
Between 10-20% of American women of childbearing age are expected to have endometriosis, a reproductive condition that can cause a range of troubling symptoms. While some women with endometriosis experience debilitating pain, heavy or irregular periods, or other issues like back pain or digestive problems regularly, others are unaware they have the condition until they face challenges when trying to conceive.
Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that typically grows within the uterus begins to grow outside the uterus. It may develop on other pelvic organs (like the ovaries, intestines, rectum, bladder, or pelvic lining. In rare cases, it may also grow outside the pelvic, in other areas of the body.
Wherever this “stray” tissue is found, it has the potential to cause pain and inflammation and negatively impact the surrounding area. Why? Although outside the uterus, this tissue continues to behave as if it were within the uterus, bleeding and sloughing off in response to the hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle. But unlike the tissue in the uterus, this discharge has nowhere to go. It remains in the pelvic region and disrupts the other tissues and organs in this area. In many cases, it causes the development of characteristic cysts, masses, and lesions called “chocolate cysts.”
What Causes Endometriosis?
While there are several theories as to why endometriosis develops in some women, there are no known causes. There is a strong genetic component, as women who have a mother or sister with the condition are more likely to have the condition themselves.
Some researchers suspect that certain pelvic cells differentiate into endometrial cells despite not being located in the uterus. Others suspect that a “backflow” of endometrial cells through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity could be the cause.
What Treatments are Available for Endometriosis?
Sadly, there are few conventional treatments available to help manage the symptoms or reverse the condition.
Laparoscopic surgery remains one of the most successful ways to remove the endometrial tissue, but it doesn’t prevent the tissue from regrowing. Hormones and birth control may help to prevent the tissue from growing, but these do not help women who are also trying to conceive. Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs may help to reduce the symptoms, but do not slow the progression of the condition. The last resort for those with severe endometriosis is a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) or oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries), but even this does not guarantee relief.
Thankfully, holistic medical systems, like Chinese medicine, can offer safe, natural, and well-rounded relief for those suffering from endometriosis and other gynecological disorders.
The Chinese Medicine Approach to Endometriosis
Chinese medicine was one of the first medical systems to develop a field of medicine dedicated to women’s health. The field of “fu ke” (gynecology) began as a way to understand women’s complex bodies better. As the field grew, formulas and acupuncture treatments were developed to address the root causes of issues like heavy bleeding, pain, infertility, and masses.
Treating Endometriosis with Chinese Medicine
Because Chinese medicine does not diagnose based on diseases, but patterns of imbalance, it does not truly “treat” endometriosis. Rather, it works to eliminate the symptoms present and remove the imbalances at the root of the problem. With the right treatment focused on the right root issue, the condition will gradually improve and diminish over time.
Chinese medicine is a complementary medicine – this means that it can be used in conjunction with conventional treatments like birth control, surgery, or other therapies. If you are interested in using Chinese herbal medicine as part of your conventional treatment plan, speak with your doctor to find the path that’s right for you.
The Root Causes of Endometriosis in Chinese Medicine
Each woman’s experience with endometriosis is unique, but there are a few commonly seen patterns of disharmony or imbalance in those with endometriosis.
For instance, there is an element of stagnation, or “stuckness,” in all endometriosis presentations. This is seen with the development of cysts and pain. There is also usually some weakness in the Kidney system, which contributes to the reproductive health and the health of the pelvic region as a whole. These issues often have root causes related to genetics, stress, diet, poor immune function, lack of exercise, or other lifestyle factors.
To address these and other common patterns, herbal formulas and lifestyle changes can help to reverse these issues and bring the body back to balance.
Herbal Solutions for Endometriosis
Best Chinese Medicines stocks a variety of classic and modern formulas that can be used to help improve the symptoms of endometriosis and encourage balance. Here are a few of our most popular solutions:
Dosing Yunnan baiyao correctly for internal use is incredibly important, so be sure to work with a licensed acupuncturist with Chinese herbal training. Contact us if you have any questions.
To help relieve other painful symptoms of endometriosis, like back pain, Yunnan baiyao patches can be applied directly to the back for quick pain relief.
Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan
Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan is a warming, nourishing formula to treat abdominal masses, cysts, bloating, coldness in the abdomen, infertility, and the dark uterine bleeding that accompanies endometriosis. It tends to work best for those whose pain improves with warmth (like a heating pad).
Xue Fu Zhu Yu Wan
The English name of this formula says it all: “Stasis in the mansion of blood.” Xue Fu Zhu Yu Wan is a strong “blood mover” which means that it encourages circulation through the reproductive organs, works to break up areas of clotting or adhesions, relieves pain, and prevents blood stagnation. It is a great choice for those with a robust constitution and painful cramping, clotting, dark menstrual bleeding, and uterine fibroids.
Lifestyle Tips for Managing Endometriosis Naturally
The right herbal formula is just one aspect of a holistic treatment plan for relieving the symptoms of endometriosis. Here are a few additional tips and habits that can help you relieve pain and improve your reproductive health.
Relieve the Pain of Endometriosis with Best Chinese Medicines
Best Chinese Medicines is proud to offer several herbal solutions to help relieve the pain and discomfort of endometriosis. Shop our collection of women’s health and fertility formulas to regain your reproductive health!