ENDOMETRIOSIS
ACUPUNCTURE

A MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR
TO INFERTILITY

ENDOMETRIOSIS

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Endometriosis is a common condition where endometrial tissue, which lines the uterus, can appear in the pelvic cavity and elsewhere in the body where it doesn’t belong. Endometriosis affects approximately 6-7% of all females, 30-40% of whom are infertile. 

The cause of endometriosis is still unknown. The most accepted explanation is that retrograde menstruation causes endometriosis. Retrograde menstruation is the backwards movement of menstrual fluids through the fallopian tubes and into the peritoneal cavity. Immunologic changes have been demonstrated in women with endometriosis. 

Endometriosis is associated with pelvic pain during periods, pain during intercourse, spotting before periods. In some patients, endometriosis infertility will present as their only symptom.

Western Medicine treatment includes laparoscopic laser surgery, which removes the endometrial implants and adhesions.

 

ENDOMETRIOSIS AND INFERTILITY

Endometriosis is a major cause of infertility as it can affect the reproductive system in many ways:

IMMUNE DYSFUNCTION

A low-grade inflammation characterises endometriosis in the pelvis. Due to the inflammation, there is a high number of macrophages (large cells which mop up cellular debris and foreign substances). Macrophages secret toxic chemicals that are toxic to the sperm and embryo.

REDUCED IMPLANTATION RATES

The anti-endometrial antibody may be linked to the recurrent miscarriages and reduced implantation associated with endometriosis. When endometrial tissues are found elsewhere in the body, the immune system attacks the tissues resulting in inflammation. The endometrium in the uterus is also attacked, leading to implantation problems.            

OVULATORY DISTURBANCES

Endometriosis is associated with ovulatory dysfunction. Failure to ovulate can result in inadequate progesterone secretion. Even if ovulation occurs, low progesterone levels may not support implantation and embryo development.

 

FALLOPIAN TUBE OBSTRUCTION

The endometriosis that sits superficially on the membrane around the pelvic cavity has mucus producing glands. If located close to the fallopian tubes or ovaries, the mucus can block the fallopian tubes.

ACUPUNCTURE AND ENDOMETRIOSIS

Patients who suffer from endometriosis may have already had surgery to manage the condition, while others, doctors may suspect endometriosis could be the contributor to their infertility.

Acupuncture is extremely beneficial to regulate the menstrual cycle and to treat any underlying condition such as endometriosis, ovulation disorders, painful periods, irregular menstrual cycles, ovarian cysts as well as low progesterone levels. From a Chinese Medicine point of view, infertility is only present when the body is out of balance. Endometriosis falls into the “blood stagnation” imbalance pattern when blood is stagnant and accompanied with many other symptoms.

Acupuncture treatments can be beneficial previous to undergoing a laparoscopic surgery and particularly after it to assist with healing of the scar (internally and externally) and to prepare the body for a natural conception or to progress further into IVF, by starting another stimulated IVF cycle or attempting another embryo transfer.

Some women may have undergone various laparoscopic surgery to assist with management of endometriosis. This can potentially cause more adhesions and scars in the lower abdomen, contributing to more inflammation and blood stagnation.

There are various benefits of combining acupuncture and Chinese medicine to assist with management of endometriosis, some benefits include:

 

TREAT UNDERLYING IMBALANCE

Specific treatment strategies using acupuncture can be incorporated to correct hormonal imbalances by regulating the pituitary gland, thyroid and adrenal glands, which all play a significant role in the reproductive system. When treating endometriosis, our treatments aim at treating the body as a whole.

REDUCE PELVIC INFLAMMATION

Acupuncture can improve blood flow in the whole body, particularly the reproductive system. Treatments can reduce pelvic inflammation and assist with previous and post laparoscopic surgery.

 

REGULATE THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE

It is crucial to regulate the menstrual cycle for a natural conception or even if IUI or IVF is the next step you will consider. By balancing hormone levels and maintaining the body as close as possible to a healthy natural menstrual cycle can assist the body to respond better to medications. 

ASSIST WITH IMPLANTATION RATES

A combination of acupuncture treatments and Chinese herbs can help with the regeneration of a healthy, fresh and nutrient rich endometrium. This can increase the chances of the embryo implanting as well as preventing an early or late miscarriage.

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