Endometriosis is a major cause of painful menstrual cycles and female infertility in about 1.5 million women in the UK.
It is caused by endometrial cells that line the womb (endometrium) migrating outside the womb to areas where they become ‘trapped’ - often around the ovaries and fallopian tubes. These cells build up, bleed and then shed as part of the normal menstrual cycle but because they cannot leave the body easily they can cause localised inflammation, pain and scarring.
From the perspective of Chinese Medicine, this build up is viewed as stagnation of blood in the uterus. In a normal cycle when pregnancy doesn’t happen the lining of the womb should break down and be shed fully as the period. If this doesn’t happen fully each time then blood and cells begins to build up in the womb (stagnate) leading to painful periods, clotting and mid-cycle bleeding or spotting, increasing the likelihood of endometriosis developing.
Treatment with acupuncture and herbal medicine aims to re-establish this normal cycle of shedding the lining of the womb fully to resolve the endometriosis.
These charities also offer guidance on the use of alternative and complementary medicines for women with endometriosis.