Endometriosis and Chinese Medicine  


What is Endometriosis:

Endometriosis is defined as patches of endometrial tissue which normally grow as the uterine lining (endometrium) found growing outside the uterus.  Generall this tissue is found in the abdominal cavity (ovaries, uterine ligaments, intestines, ureters, bladder, vagina, surgical scars) , although it may appear in other parts of the body (chest lining, brain). It quite commonly is attached to the outside of internal organs and most often adheres to the ovaries and uterine ligaments. This tissue keeps the same traits it would have if it still were present inside the uterus.  It grows and builds mid cycle, and bleeds during menstruation. This causes pain of varying degrees in different women. When this continues for some time, the misplaced tissue may cause scarring that leads to an adhesion (sticking together) of internal surfaces (organs, ligaments) and may eventually inhibit proper functioning of certain aspects of the body. In severe cases women may experience vicarious bleeding during menstruation (ie nose bleeds if the endometrial tissue is found in such far away places). 


Causes of Endometriosis:

Endometriosis seems to run in families (mostly Caucasian). Also, giving birth for the first time after the age of 30 seems to be a risk factor. The best theory to date of why this condition comes fourth is said to be during menstruation, some of the endometrial tissue that is usually shed through the vagina, flows backward out the uterine (Fallopian) tubes.


Signs and Symptoms:

pain in the lower abdomen and pelvic region, irregular menses, spotting between periods or before periods, infertility (difficulty conceiving), pain during sexual intercourse, abdominal swelling, pain during bowel movements, bleeding from the rectum during menstruation, lower abdominal pain during menstruation, and there are sometimes no symptoms at all.


Diagnosis of Endometriosis:

when a woman shows typical signs described above, or has unexplained infertility one may suspect Endometriosis. There may also be palpable masses in the lower abdomen. To see if there is endometrial tissue outside of the uterus, a doctor will use a small fiber optic viewing tube called a laparoscope that enters the abdominal cavity through a small incision made just below the navel. Sometimes it may not be conclusive by only viewing so a biopsy (small sample) will be taken. Ultrasounds, MRI's, barium enemas, CT scans, and x-rays may also be used to determine the extent of the disease. Blood tests that show antibodies for endometrial tissue are also a signal that the body may be attacking regular body tissues that are out of place.


Acupuncture points and Treatment of Endometriosis:

when you go to see your acupuncturist or Chinese medicine practitioner, they will take you through a series of questions quite unlike your western medical physician. These questions are based on finding a wholistic pattern of disharmony in the body. The belief is that when the bodies disharmonies are balanced, and the patients constitution strengthened, the healing powers of the human will run at optimal levels. They should also go through many other aspects of your life to determine what may be energetically contributing to the disease condition. The following are common patterns people fit into, and common


Common Patterns Causing Endometriosis in Chinese Medicine:


Qi deficiency with Blood Stasis

chronic, irregular painful periods, dislike massage, large clots, infertility, pain during sex, Spleen deficiency symptoms- fatigue, bloating, heavy pressure on the anus, T- swollen pale with teethmarks purple, P- deep thin weak

Principle of Treatment: nourish Qi to move Qi and Blood

Acupuncture points - Ren, foot Yangming, Du 20, Ren 6, BL 20, ST 36, BL 32, Zi Gong, GB 36 - heavy painful anus- Du


Heat stagnation with Blood Stasis

painful periods, dislike massage, large clots, infertile, irregular menses, heat shows more during menses, trichomonas infection, thirst, constipation, P- wiry rapid, T- red, yellow coat

Acupuncture points - sedate, LI 11, SJ 6, BL 17, SP 6, 10, Zi Gong, LR 5, Ren


Cold stagnation

painful periods, dislike cold and aggravated by cold, small clots, infertility, pain is amelioriated by heat application

Tongue - pale or normal         Pulse - tight

Herbal Treatment  -  Wen Jing Tang or Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan

Acupuncture points - Ren 4, 6, 8, GB 26, ST 25, KI 12, Ren 1 (heavy Moxa)

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