Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine is one of the few natural treatment options that can be profoundly helpful for women suffering from endometriosis. This condition, which occurs when the tissue that lines the endometrium is found to be growing outside the uterus, is a painful and sometimes debilitating condition that affects 10 to 20% of American women of childbearing age. The typical symptoms are severe menstrual cramping, irregular menstrual bleeding, lower back pain, pain after intercourse, fatigue, and occasionally difficulty in conception.
Endometriosis is seen as a sign of blood stagnation in Chinese medicine. This can be due to blood deficiency, kidney deficiency, or excessive internal cold. Each specific pattern tends to respond very well to treatment. There are some cases of endometrial growth, however, that are so pronounced that surgical intervention is necessary. Most mild to moderate cases can be treated with Chinese medicine.
The typical course of treatment for endometriosis is acupuncture once a week for 6-8 visits, at which time we will assess for progress and discuss future treatment. The process tends to be condensed if the patient is willing to take Chinese herbs and make some dietary changes. The following herbal formulas have proven to be effective in the treatment of endometriosis:
- shao fu zhy yu tang: treats blood stagnation and cold in the lower abdominal region
- crampbark plus: A formula by Health Concerns that regulates the blood
- gui zhi fu ling wan: Perhaps the most popular herbal formula for cysts, fibroid and enodmetriosisAlong with acupuncture and herbs, it’s also important to make the following dietary changes:
- avoid refined sugar
- minimize refined carbs
- minimize coffee
- eat plenty of organic fruits and vegetables
- take flax oil daily
- get plenty of essential fats: fish, nuts, seeds, legumes
- make sure meat selections are free range/organic
It is also important to exercise 3-4 times a week to maintain the proper circulation of Qi and blood throughout the body.
Pursuing acupuncture and herbal treatment for endometriosis can be a life-changing decision for many women. When combined with proper diet and exercise, the root cause of this condition can often be healed.
Izumi “Zoe” Schutz, L.Ac., is a Licensed and Board Certified Acupuncturist and the founder or Morning Quail Acupuncture in Austin, Texas.