Endometriosis treatment requires a deep understanding of the personal health of the person involved as endometriosis is a complex and challenging condition that’s linked to:
- Reduced fertility
- High estrogen levels
We also know:
- Endometriosis stops growing in pregnancy (when progesterone levels are very high)
- Progesterone is a Yang hormone
- Estrogen is a Yin hormone
- A lot of infertility is rooted in a relative lack of Yang
Endometriosis is often (but not always) linked to Kidney Yang deficiency that causes a relative excess of Yin substances that accumulate in the pelvic cavity, and because Kidney Yang is the core dynamic energy of the lower abdomen it controls the immune system and fluids. The transformation and transportation of body fluids in the lower body is governed by the Kidney Yang (in partnership with Spleen Yang) and without the Yang dynamic of the Kidneys and Spleen (which are also central to the immune system health) the 15ml of fluids that’s released into the abdomen at ovulation are less likely to be absorbed. This can develop into a problem if they remain and stagnate, possibly along with menstrual blood that can flow upwards through the fallopian tubes. Yang is warming and transforming and in health these substances are removed from the pelvis, but without a strong Yang dynamic this may not happen.
The lower Jiao has an underlying damp nature (like a drainage ditch), and without a strong Kidney Yang to regulate fluids and engender transformation it means Blood is more likely to stagnate, and Phlegm-Dampness is more likely to accumulate there. Western research indicates it’s also highly likely that early stage endometriosis involves a heightened immune response with high cytokine and macrophage activity in an attempt to resolve the problem, but this also creates an environment that’s hostile to both eggs and sperm and significantly reduces fertility. In practice the surgical removal of endometriosis doesn’t halt the disease process, but it does postpone it, and there’s a doubling of pregnancy rates following corrective surgery, while Chinese medicine is shown to be an excellent adjunctive treatment that can raise fertility afterwards (endometriosis and fertility).
Because endometriosis has tissues that mirrors events within the womb across the cycle it can release blood and fluids and these can obstruct the release of eggs from the ovary, block and distort the fallopian tubes and prevent pregnancy. Acupuncture and herbal treatment needs to reflect the characteristics of the person’s cycle and constitution for pregnancy rates to be raised.i
(1) Following the period:
i ‘Treatment of infertility with Chinese medicine’ Jane Lyttleton. Churchill Livingstone. 2004 (p170-183)