As a clinic that supports women through fertility challenges and pregnancy we meet with many women diagnosed with endometriosis and adenomyosis. These conditions can be extremely painful, can impact fertility and take their toll on your mental health.
The Chinese medicine approach to treatment is to use acupuncture and herbal medicine to treat the pattern of disharmony and to manage pain. The main patterns associated with endometriosis are caused by stagnation (obstruction) of either the Qi (energy) and Xue (blood) or cold.
Our practitioners select points and herbal medicines according to the individual's patterns. For Qi stagnation our herbal formulas will often contain the key herbs of Bai Shao and Gan Cao. This combination has been used for centuries to moderate pain and spasm and soften the qi.
Bai Shao is the root of a peony rose - this herb has a sour flavour and softens the liver energy to relax muscles and tendons. Gan Cao is a type of liquorice - a herb that is used in many formulae, not just for gynaecology - in this combination though, it helps to enhance the softening function of Bai Shao.
Pain that is fixed and has an intense stabbing nature and periods that are dark or clotty can suggest a blood stagnation pattern. In this presentation we use Chinese herbs to invigorate the blood and move obstruction. These herbs are known as blood breakers, and include the herbs Tao Ren - peach seed and Hong Hua - safflower.
When cold is the cause of the accumulation, (cold diets, cold homes, cold activities etc) herbalist's use spicy and warming herbs to move the obstruction. Formulae could include Gui Zhi or Rou Gui (both types of Cinnamon), Sheng Jiang (Ginger) or Wu Gu Zi (Evodia fruit) to warm the uterus and expel cold.
A tonic herb used frequently in women's herbal formulae is Dang Gui (Angelica). This herbs nourishes and invigorates the blood. It appears in many classical Chinese herbal formulas for period and pelvic pain, especially in cases of deficiency of the qi or blood.
From a biomedical perspective many of these Chinese herbs have been found to have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic effects.
Period pain is serious and should not be dismissed. It is not normal to have painful periods. Talk to us, and if you or someone you love has been diagnosed with endometriosis or adenomyosis and need support please get in touch and also check out https://www.endometriosisaustralia.org
for general information.