We see many people with varying levels of Endometriosis and Menstrual pain every day in the clinic, and March is Endometriosis Awareness Month - a time to recognise people living with Endometriosis, so that they feel heard, seen and supported.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is the abnormal growth of endometrial tissue outside the lining of the uterus. This commonly occurs in the womb, bowel and bladder, but can also be found in other areas of the body. Endometrial tissue responds to the same hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle, and therefore tissue that is not expelled via the period from the uterus, gets 'trapped' in the body and can cause debilitating pain that is commonly hidden, dismissed or misdiagnosed.
We would also like to point out that Endometriosis is so much more than just painful periods. It is a multi-layered condition involving not only the reproductive system, but also the immune, digestive and nervous systems. There are many other symptoms that can also be involved in the bigger picture for our patients. These symptoms can be exhausting and many people find it extremely difficult to live normal lives. Some of these include:
- Body pain
- Digestive issues
- Immune issues
How does Chinese Medicine approach Endometriosis?
Chinese Medicine considers Endometriosis and Menstrual pain to be the stagnation of blood flow. In Endo, this is blood not flowing out of the body as it should, thereby stagnating and causing pain. We also look at and consider all the other accompanying symptoms that can be part of the landscape of Endometriosis.
What can we do to support Endometriosis?
Treatment and support for Endometriosis may involve an extensive healthcare team, and we are here to work together as part of your team to provide you with support. We recognise that Endometriosis and Menstrual pain can be multi faceted and different for every individual.
In Chinese Medicine is that we consider your underlying constitution and the whole spectrum of your presenting symptoms. We take all of this into account when designing your treatment, and this is why your intake form and consultations might include a number of different seemingly unrelated questions. Trust us, they are all related!
At Altona Acupuncture, we draw from a combination of therapies including acupuncture, herbs, supplements, and dietary therapy as needed. Additionally our treatment principles are centred around simple practices to nourish the body, support menstruation and manage pain.
Here are some well loved tips to support Endometriosis and menstrual pain:
- Reduce cold or raw foods in favour of warm, easy to digest foods. Simple nourishing soups, stews, broths are perfect for this.
- Keep warm and cosy. Yep, we're not big fans of cold and ice around here. Cold constricts blood vessels and tissue, causing pain, so keep your feet, abdomen and lower backs warm with heat packs and avoid swimming during the period
- Gentle walks or stretching to encourage circulation & movement in the pelvis
- Herbs, acupuncture and moxibustion
To our Endo friends, we send love and strength to you. We also recognise that March has been a mighty big ride for many of us, so this is also your monthly reminder to be kind to yourself and your body as we head into the cooler seasons.