March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, a worldwide campaign aimed at raising awareness of Endometriosis, a disease that affects 1 in 10 women. To put this statistic into greater perspective that is approximately 200 million women and girls worldwide. Endometriosis Australia cites more than 740,000 (> 10%) of Australian women suffer with endometriosis at some point in their life with the disease often starting in teenagers.
One of the most significant things about endometriosis is that the time taken to obtain diagnosis is often between 7-12 years. This is a VERY long time to live with symptoms, not to mention the possible flow-on effects of the disease such as fertility issues.
Endometriosis is when tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows outside it in other parts of the body where it induces a chronic inflammatory reaction that may result in scar tissue. It is primarily found on the pelvic peritoneum, on the ovaries, in the recto-vaginal septum, on the bladder, and bowel.
One of the most common symptoms is pelvic pain which can put a woman's life on hold on or around her period. Aside from painful periods, other symptoms include painful ovulation, pain during or after sexual intercourse, heavy bleeding, chronic pelvic pain, fatigue, and infertility. These symptoms all obviously can impact on general physical, mental, and social well being.
A woman’s menstruation, at optimal health, should be painless and accompanied by minimal pre and post menstrual signs and symptoms. If there is free flow, there is no pain: if there is pain, there is no free flow.
In Chinese medicine, the uterus and the liver are closely related. The liver maintains free flow of the qi or vital energy of the body. The liver, spleen, and kidney channels run through the pelvis and can all effect menstruation. If any of these channels are blocked, congested or deficient, this will usually result in some sort of menstrual problem.
Acupuncture supports the body’s natural healing mechanisms and helps to balance the body. Acupuncture can regulate both the opioid and the cannabinoid pain message systems within our bodies. This, quite simply, means that acupuncture reduces pain.
It can be used to help regulate the menstrual cycle, support the balancing of hormones and clear obstructions, allowing the blood to flow freely. This often then decreases pain, supports fertility and improves well-being. Chinese herbs may also be recommended in some cases to help support this process, as will life-style advice and nutrition advice. For best results, it needs to be a holistic approach.
Chinese medicine offers a non-invasive, natural way of re-balancing the body.
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