Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (endometrium) grows outside of the womb. This tissue has now been found on every organ in the body, including the brain. It is a full body disease, and the most common symptoms are painful periods, pain with bowel movements and urination, painful sex, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, digestive issues, heavy and/or irregular bleeding and infertility.
The gold standard for diagnosis is still laparoscopic surgery and if you are lucky enough to have a skilled excision expert then surgery may help for a time, but endo can and does often come back. In Australia, endometriosis affects one in nine women and those who identify as gender diverse, and it still takes an average of seven years to diagnose. There is no cure for this disease that can affect every aspect of a person’s life, from employment to relationships and friendships.
Endometriosis is a disease very close to my heart as I was diagnosed later in life with stage IV, after twenty seven years of trying everything I could to improve my “period pain”. This is also why I truly believe a multifaceted approach is the best strategy to helping manage your symptoms.
There is a growing body of evidence that shows acupuncture can decrease menstrual and non-menstrual pelvic pain and improve quality of life in sufferers. I know this to be true from firsthand experience. I also recommend combining acupuncture with abdominal and lower back massage to increase blood flow in the body and soften adhesions, alongside sustainable lifestyle advice including improving sleeping habits, mindfulness, breathing techniques and herbal medicine or supplements. I really wish everyone suffering from endometriosis knew that you don’t have to just live with the pain and fatigue, there are many complementary therapies that can help, and that can work alongside western medicine for an effective, integrative approach to symptom management.
Written By Katrina Wood- Acupuncture and TCM