Endometriosis is a condition that causes endometrial tissue to form outside of the uterine wall (endometrium) creating symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, diffuse or abdominal pain traveling to the inner thigh, infertility, dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse), premenstrual spotting, and painful menstrual periods. Other symptoms may also include vomiting, nausea, fatigue, pain upon defecation, and low back pain. As some women sufferers can present without pain, the magnitude of the pain may not truly reveal the disease’s severity.
Western Medical Viewpoint
Western treatments and medications include:
• Synarel, Danazol, Zoladex, Provera, Duphaston, or Lupron – During the menstrual cycle, these drugs are meant to inhibit the regular course of hormones and ovulation.
• A laparoscopy aimed at extracting small patches of tissue and to drain fluids. Due to their coloring, the tissues or cysts are sometimes known as “chocolate cysts”.
• Birth control – For the regular suppression of ovulation.
• More extensive surgery to clear the fallopian tubes and to take out larger chunks of displaced scar tissue. Although helpful in the short term, surgery is not a guarantee that the tissue will not grow back and cause the symptoms to recur.
In endometriosis there is clotting of tissue and pain that accompanies a difficult menstrual flow. The pain may affect the Abdominal, Spleen, and Liver meridians causing headaches, fatigue, indigestion, or bloating. The main cause is often Kidney Yang deficiency, usually accompanied by Liver Qi stagnation or Spleen Qi deficiency resulting in Blood stagnation. Each of us is burdened with an enormous amount of stress in our modern busy way of living. Stress is often chronic among working and professional women and too much work can negatively affect the smooth flow of Blood and Qi. The blockage of the circulation of Blood constricts its normal cycle. Other contributors to endometriosis include poor nutrition and environmental toxins, as do stomach surgeries and traumas.
If there is an occurrence of menstrual spotting, it may be because of the unsuccessful attempt of Blood to evenly flow within the meridians. In a manner of speaking, Blood is being pushed out of the meridians because it has filled the Uterus beyond capacity without any open exit valve available. During the four menstrual cycle stages, the regular flow of Blood and Qi is required. This would mean that part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) treatment would be to regulate the hormones, as opposed to the inhibition of the hormones’ normal function.
TCM Treatment – What to Expect
The aim of TCM is to rectify the underlying cause of the problem during each of the stage of the menstrual cycle by fine-tuning the treatment protocol.
The Different TCM Diagnostic Patterns That Underlie Endometriosis
Signs and Symptoms:
• A tongue that is purplish in color
• Blood clots
• Palpable masses in the lower stomach
• Stabbing sharp pain
• Pain before or during menstruation
Signs and Symptoms:
• Stabbing sharp or pain before or during menstruation
• A tongue whose sides are redder than its body
• Repressed emotions, anger, irritability, to high blood pressure
• Migraine or tension headaches
• Continuous and/or high levels of stress
Signs and Symptoms:
• A tongue with no coating
• The body of the tongue may have teeth-marked and scalloped edges
• Weak appetite
• Cold extremities
• Overwhelmed, overworked
• Aching but dull pain during or after menses
• Feeling fragile and exhausted
Dampness defined as congealing and slow moving causing lethargy or sluggishness generating mucus resulting in stagnation.
Signs and Symptoms
• A feeling of heaviness or lethargy
• Thirstiness with no urge to drink fluids
• Overproduction of mucus or phlegm
• The coating of the tongue may appear white think, greasy, or slimy
Signs and Symptoms
• Tongue with yellow coating
• Facial flush, sweating, or warmth inside the body
• Blood “boils over” because of too much heat in the meridians causing painful and heavy menses
Coldness (Can be excess or deficiency)
A lot of medical books refer to this coldness as “Cold uterus.” This type of Cold is often stagnating, cramping, confining, and inhibiting. The Kidney meridian channel begins on the feet and travels through the Uterus. According to TCM, through the uterus, coldness in the feet goes up the Kidney meridian which then confines or inhibits Blood and Qi flow affecting fertility and the normal function of the reproductive system. If you suffer from this type of disharmony, wear socks and keep your feet warm.
Signs and Symptoms
• A white coating in the tongue
• Severe pain and/or cramping before or during menstruation
• Frequent urination
• There is generally a feeling of coldness in the body that gets better when heat is felt
Dietary and Nutrition Guidelines:
A report published In the 2004 edition of Aphrodite Women’s Health revealed that endometriosis incidences lessened by 40% less among females who ate green vegetables and fresh fruits. There was an 80% to 100% chance of developing endometriosis in females who ate red meat, ham, or beef. This shows that a connection between endometriosis and diet exists.
To prevent endometriosis you can:
1. Remove animal fats, salt, alcohol, and caffeine in your diet
2. Consume foods rich in selenium, vitamin B, and zinc
3. Eat green foods and those high in vitamin C (spirulina, chlorella, wheatgrass). These foods can move, nourish, and cleans the blood clearing stagnation and boosting circulation
4. Eat vegetables rich in bioflavonoids and antioxidants (Vit. A, E, and C) – these can include red and green peppers, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, spinach, yams, and carrots
5. Consume a high-fiber diet made of legumes and whole grains (quinoa, spelt, rye, oats, and wheat).
If Stagnant Blood is the cause of your menstrual pain, you can alleviate it by:
1. Not eating animal products treated with antibiotics or steroids.
2. Avoiding hydrogenated and refined oils
3. Taking omega 3 fatty acids from linseed oil or fish
4. Eating alpha-linoleic and linoleic fatty acids found in primrose, pumpkin seeds, olive oil, and flaxseed
5. Consuming whole grains like 100% whole wheat, quinoa, and brown rice
6. Adding scallions, garlic, and onions to warm and move the Blood
7. Eating chlorella, spirulina, seaweed, and kelp
8. Consume foods rich in high in bioflavonoids (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, celery, beets, grapes, apricots, limes, lemons, tomatoes)
For Cold conditions, recommended foods to eat are those with warm or neutral qualities. They include (green and red cabbage, yams, sweet potatoes, figs, pineapple, papaya, mangoes, chicken, turkey, beef, venison, millet, wheat bran, ginger, garlic, carrots, onions, leeks, and beans.
Liver Qi stagnation
For women suffering from irritability, tension, anger, or high stress, try to:
1. Eat more frequent but smaller meals
2. Slowly chew your food, enjoy and sit down your meal without doing multiple tasks
3. Consume nutritious and wholesome organic foods instead of refined and processed foods containing preservatives and chemicals
5. Live in the moment and release problems issues you have no control over
6. Do yoga
7. Avoid greasy and spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol as Heat conditions negatively react to these types of foods and substances
8. Eat foods with cooling qualities which are appropriate for Heat conditions. These foods can include endive, bok choy, beets, asparagus, eggplant, winter squash, watercress, cauliflower, alfalfa, broccoli, kale, sprouts, American ginseng, cilantro, chamomile green, or mint tea, kidney beans, black beans, mung beans, tofu, wheat, brown rice, pearl barley, tomatoes, persimmons, pears, strawberries,, yogurt, milk, crab, shrimp, and ocean fish
9. Avoid greasy foods, spicy foods, alcohol, and dairy products. Consume alkaline grains such as brown rice or barley. Eat also green beans, zucchini, avocado, turnips, Brussels sprouts, watercress, and spinach.
10. Avoid too much intake of sugars, fruits, and juices as they tend to worsen damp conditions
TCM can resolve endometriosis and needs to be considered along with Western treatments.
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