by Rachel Volp March 20, 2017

Endometriosis Awareness Month 

March is here already, say hello to Autumn!

March outlines a month of empowerment to the team at Vyne Health due to it aligning with March 8th, International Women’s Day and the month of March in particular focuses on raising awareness for Endometriosis worldwide. This is important to us, due to endometriosis approximately affecting one in 10 women at some point during their life (1, 2). So we thought endometriosis would be an important topic to discuss so you can gain a better understanding of the condition and so we can recommend some websites, support groups or links that you can visit to converse feelings, stories or find like-minded people in relation to our topic of choice.

Sharing awareness is crucial for endometriosis due to the varying symptoms between women that contributes to a 7 – 10 year delay in an actual diagnosis of this condition (5,3). Not only does this affect women each and every month, it can increase chances serious fertility complications or other long-term health complaints.

What is Endometriosis?

  • Endometriosis is a common disease in which tissue similar to the endometrium (the uterus lining) is found growing outside of the uterus and womb or in other abnormal parts of the body (3, 4, 5, 6).
  • This etopic tissue responds to hormonal changes of a women’s menstrual cycle resulting in inflammation and pain (11).
  • It affects young teenage girls and women of all ages during their most productive years (approx. 15 – 49 years of age) (3, 4, 5, 6).

What are the Symptoms?

  • Pelvic, low back or leg pain (5).
  • Fatigue (5).
  • Pain during or after sex (5).
  • Dysmenorrhoea (painful periods) (11).
  • Pain with bowl movements (5).
  • Pain on or around ovulation (5).
  • Debilitating pain during or around your period (5).
  • Pain upon urination, or trouble holding on to urine (5).
  • Heavy or irregular menstrual bleeding (5).

If you or a loved one have some of these symptoms the next steps that can be considered include:

  • Visiting a doctor for an investigation to seek appropriate imagery techniques or scans.
  • Seek a possible referral to a gynaecologist.
  • Track your symptoms on a period tracker or on the tracker supplied on the Endometriosis Australia Website here.
  • If the ovaries are affected, ovarian cysts may develop (2); hence it is important to have regular check ups to ensure you have no abnormalities.
  • Be proactive and seek medical investigations or implement coping strategies to help with side effects like pain or stress (e.g. yoga, pilates, exercise, beach walking, acupuncture, deep breathing, meditation or dietary changes).

How is a diagnosis made? 

  • A laparoscopy is required to make a definite diagnosis (13). This is a surgical procedure performed under general anaesthetic where a thin telescope is inserted into the umbilicus for inspection.
  • A biopsy is then done to take a tissue sample that is sent pathology and investigated further (13).
  • Laparoscopy information, Australian Healthcare/Gynaecologist's/Women’s Health or Complimentary and Alternative Medicine Informative links can be found here .

 Although the cause of endometriosis still remains unclear (14), there are speculations of potential causes being related to hormonal imbalances, immune responses or chronic inflammation (4), a reaction to retrograde menstrual flow - which is a backward flow of menstrual blood and fluids through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity instead of flowing out of the body (4, 6).

 

How Acupuncture may be able to help symptoms of Endometriosis

  • Assist in pain relief or pain management via the help of released endorphins into the blood stream providing a mild analgesic effect (3, 7, 9).
  • Possibly improve and enhance uterine blood flow and circulation (8, 10).
  • Reduce overactive immune responses.
  • Assist in regulating the menstrual cycle and aid pain relief (6, 7, 8, 9, 10).
  • Enhance relaxation thus decreasing stress hormones within the body (3).

We work along side other health professionals in regards to designing a treatment plan that best suits you and your current condition. We will often incorporate other techniques during your treatment, particularly our infrared heat lamp. Our lamp can help increase blood flow and improve circulation, and besides we all know a warm heat pack or hot water bottle feels soothing when we are in pain. So our Acupuncturists ensure a relaxing environment is created for you to unwind in and soak up the warmth of the lights rays. 

Acupuncture in the media

Endometriosis Australia in collaboration with Endo and Us have released an informative web series that also touches on Acupuncture as alternative treatment worth embracing (See 2m00s)

For the month of March, get involved by being brave and talk about endometriosis or share your stories with other members of the Endometriosis Australia Facebook page. Not only might you learn more about this condition, you will also be greeted by similar people facing the same battles – you are not alone. Alternatively, leave a comment on this blog or share this blog if you feel you can help or reach out to others. 

If you would like to know more about endometriosis or the effects of Acupuncture in general, please do not hesitate to contact our team on (07) 5515 0409 or write to us at info@vynehealth.com.au.

 

 

The mentioned information is not to be considered medical advice or a treatment plan or recommendation; consent, information, treatments or investigation options should also be discussed with your selected Doctor or gynaecologist.

 

 

 References: 

  1. Adamson GD, et al. 2010, ‘creating solutions in endometriosis: global collaboration through the world endometriosis research foundation’. J of endometrioses; 2(1):3-6.
  2. Bulun SE, 2009, Mechanisms of disease: endometriosis. New England Journal of Medicine, 360(3), 268 – 279.
  3. Han JS, 2004, Acupunctrue and endorphins. Neurosci Lett; 361:258-61
  4. Kyama C et al. 2003, Potential involvement of the immune system in the development of endometriosos. Reproductve Biology and Endocrinology, 1; 123.
  5. Rogers Pa, et al. 2009, ‘Priorities for endometriosis research: recommendations from an international consensus workshop’. Reprod Sci; 16(4):335-46.
  6. Rubi-Klein K, Kucera-Sliutz E, Nissel H, Bijak M, Stockenhuber D, Fink M, Wolkenstein E. 2010, ‘Is acupuncture in addition to conventional medicine effective as pain treatment for endometriosis?: A randomized controlled cross-over trail. Euro J Obstet Gynecol Repro Biol. 153(1):90-93.
  7. Wayne PM et al. 2008, Japanese style acupuncture for endometriosis-related pelvic pain in adolescents and young women: results of a randomized sham-controlled trial. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol; 21(5): 24-57.
  8. Yu YP, Ma LX, Ma YX, Liu YQ, Liu CZ, Xie JP, Gao SZ, Zhu J, 2010, ‘Immediate effect of acupuncture at Sanyinjiao (SP6) and Xuanzhong (GB39) on uterine arterial blood flow in primary dysmenorrhoea. J Altern Med. 16(10): 1073 -78.
  9. Zhao ZQ, 2008, Neural mechanism underlying acupuncture analgesia. Prog Neurobiol; 85: 335-75.
  10. Ziljstra FJ et al. 2003, Antiinflammatory actions of acupuncture. Mediators Inflamm; 12: 59 – 69.
  11. https://www.endofound.org/endometriosis
  12. http://www.acog.org/about_acog/news_room/~/media/newsroom/millionwomanmarchendometriosisfactsheet.pdf
  13. https://www.endometriosisaustralia.org/documents
  14. http://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/endometriosis.html
Rachel Volp
Rachel Volp