TREATING ENDOMETRIOSIS FROM ALL ANGLES
Endometriosis is a complex disease affecting nearly one in ten women in the world. Since there is no one known cause or cure for endometriosis, I find treatment the most effective when it is viewed from all angles of known causative factors. Acubalance’s multifaceted approach to treating endometriosis can help reduce pain and inflammation, regulate hormones, improve fertility, and overall quality of life for patients suffering from various stages of endometriosis.
INFLAMMATION: One of the main characteristics of endometriosis is inflammatory cytokines secreted by the endometrial tissue growing in places it shouldn’t (on the bowel, bladder, ovaries, fallopian tubes, nerves, and more) causing pain. My favorite way to treat reproductive inflammation is through low level laser therapy, (LLLT), a non-invasive light-based therapy that uses red and infrared light to stimulate ATP (cellular energy) production in damaged tissue to repair and heal cells, decrease inflammation, and promote blood circulation. Laser therapy is incredibly anti-inflammatory, and I find that many of my patients notice a reduction in period pain within two menstrual cycles using low level laser therapy in combination with their acupuncture treatments. Diet is one of the most important ways to combat inflammation in the body. The signs and symptoms of endometriosis are often aggravated by inflammatory foods. By eliminating common inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, sugar, and alcohol, many endometriosis symptoms can be decreased. Using more anti-inflammatory spices such as turmeric, ginger, milk thistle, dandelion leaf, and ground flaxseeds are also recommended.
Managing stress level is also important when dealing with inflammatory based syndromes according to studies. The acute stress response is a completely normal and healthy state of the nervous system, but it becomes a systemic problem when chronic and low grade. There has been a study looking at how endometriosis is exacerbated is exacerbated with stress in animals. Working on managing stress levels and adrenal health through acupuncture (activation of the parasympathetic nervous system) and adrenal/cortisol testing and management with naturopathy in combination with lifestyle practices (journaling, meditation, exercise, etc) can be key in managing the inflammation associated endometriosis. Acupuncture is another great tool for activating the rest and digest aspect of the autonomic nervous system (opposite of fight or flight), regulating cortisol levels, and reducing inflammation by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines.
HORMONE IMBALANCE: Endometriosis is linked to higher levels of estrogen, and women suffering from endometriosis tend to have estrogen dominance. Making sure the liver is properly detoxing excess levels of estrogen is crucial in the maintenance of the disease. A study published in 2010 showed that women who exercised regularly will have a 40-80% decreased risk of endometriosis. Regular exercise helps benefit stress levels, balances hormones, and decreases inflammation. There are also foods that help the body decrease estrogen help limit the symptoms of endometriosis such as cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale) that help the body eliminate estrogen. To read more about diet suggestions for endometriosis read the Acubalance Fertility Diet. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbs can also be extremely beneficial in balancing hormones. Herbs have been used to effectively treat the pain of endometriosis and improving fertility, sometimes even better than hormone or drug therapy.
AUTOIMMUNITY: It is also thought that endometriosis may have autoimmune triggers or components. You can’t have an autoimmune disease without leaky gut, so working on gut health with key supplementation, a good quality probiotic, laser therapy (improves the microbiome), and an anti-inflammatory diet is key to modulating the immune system to decrease endometriosis symptoms. Naturopathy can also be extremely helpful for helping balance the autoimmune aspect of endometriosis. Low dose naltrexone (an opiate antagonist that can help with autoimmune diseases by decreasing inflammation and increasing endorphin secretion) may be helpful for some people with endometriosis.
At Acubalance Acupuncture, Chinese medicine and Naturopathic medicine are used closely together in the treatment of endometriosis. A combination of nutritional support, supplementation, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, lifestyle changes, and low level laser therapy can be monumental in shifting the inflammatory, hormonal, and autoimmune components of endometriosis to provide long lasting pain and symptom relief.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with endometriosis, give Acubalance a call at 604-678-8600 to schedule a complimentary 15 minute phone consultation with one of our experienced practitioners.