Endometriosis: Western Approach versus Chinese Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine

What is Endometriosis or Endo?

Endometriosis occurs when tissues inside the uterus lining are found outside the uterus and in other parts of the body, e.g. ovaries, Fallopian tubes, bladder, large intestine, etc. Some of the most noticeable symptoms of Endo are severe and persistent period pain, pelvic pain. It is possible to have endometriosis and not have these symptoms. Other symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the pelvic area, lower abdomen or lower back, especially prior and during periods.
  • Pain during intercourse.
  • Heavy and/or irregular menstrual bleeding or clotting.

It is important to understand that Endometriosis is a common condition that influences more than 700,000 Australian women of reproductive age. There are different types of Endometriosis treatments including medications, surgical operation, naturopath, and acupuncture in conjunction with herbal medicine, etc.


Western Medicine approach to Endometriosis:

  • Surgical treatment: The most common surgical approach to treating Endometriosis is laparoscopy, which aims to cut out or burn the endometrium-like cells. This operation is performed through the insertion of a slender tube into a small incision, usually in the belly button. Despite its effectiveness, recent studies have shown that within 5 years following the operation, Endometriosis has a high recurrent rate of 20% to 40%.
  • Medications: Can be divided into hormonal and non-hormonal treatments.
    • The hormonal approach is long-term which involves taking oral contraceptive pills, or progesterone (a type of female hormones) injections or IUD. This method is not ideal for women who are trying to conceive.
    • Non-hormonal treatment involves prescriptive pain-relievers and anti-inflammatory. This method is often used in combination with others since it does not aim to treat endometriosis but only to relieve specific symptoms.

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine approach to Endometriosis:

From the views of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Endometriosis occurs due to the slowdown and immobility of blood flow through the pelvic area and dysfunction in certain organs, especially the kidneys and liver as they are perceived to support the reproductive system.

Unlike Western medicine that focuses on relieving symptoms and temporary improvements, Chinese medicine specialists often tackle the underlying factors causing Endometriosis while preventing a recurrence. Acupuncture and herbal medicine, in combination with specific lifestyle alternations,  may improve blood flow, regulate periods, therefore, may relieve endometriosis symptoms like severe pain in the pelvic region and may increase women’s chances at fertility.