Photo by Thunderchild tm Endometriosis is a condition that affects millions of women. It is is the presence of endometrial tissue outside the uterus, which causes pain during the menstrual cycle. This occurs becuase the endometrial tissue is supposed to shed every month, and if it isn't in the uterus, the tissue essentially "stagnates," and causes pain. Endometriosis is usually diagnosed between the ages of 30 and 40, but can begin as a young as the teenage years. Forty percent of  women are symptom-free and don't even realize they have it. The other sixty percent are well aware of the symptoms, which include mild to severe pain in the lower abdomen during the menstrual cycle, heavy bleeding, and even infertility.

Western medicine does not have a cure for endometriosis, but offers prescription drugs and laparoscopic surgery as an option to stop the pain. While it may stop the pain, this method doesn't address the inflammation that is occurs throughout the body with each cycle.

Acupuncture points and Chinese herbal medicine help soothe the pain, reduce inflammation, and help reduce the heavy monthly bleeding.  The diagnosis of endometriosis is Blood Stagnation (which is exactly what is sounds like), but there is often either excess Heat or Cold in the body. The practitioner will use acupoints to treat all of these symptoms.

Herbal formulas will be prescribed at specific times in the woman's menstrual cycle. One formula can be taken just after the menstrual cycle begins, and another after ovulation (or mid-cycle).

Randine Lewis's book, The Infertility Cure, is one of the best resources I have found for information about acupuncture, Western and Chinese herbs, and endometriosis. Read her book for more extenstive information on endometriosis.