This is a painful condition characterized by discomfort usually in the pelvis or abdominal areas inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium) existing in abnormal locations such as the outside of the uterus, Fallopian tubes or ovaries, or attached to the bowel, other organs such as the bladder or the bowel wall.
The pain occurs because this endometrial tissue behaves towards the oestrogen and progesterone levels as does the endometrium within the uterus. It engorges with blood and swells as if it were expecting a fertilized egg; this swelling causes inflammation and pain at the site.
Endometriosis, depending on its site and the amount of displaced tissue can lead to other problems such as painful intercourse, infertility and bowel and bladder problems.
The orthodox approach is to consider blocking the menstrual cycle by using either oral contraceptive pills or a drug called danazol, which blocks the pituitary gland (which controls the female cycle). Other drugs are being considered all the time. Surgery, either laparoscopic or open surgery, may have to be considered to remove aggressive or larger deposits.
Consult a herbalist. Phyto-oestrols have a weak oestrogen effect, which may block the natural oestrogens and therefore lessen the amount of endometrial swelling. Herbs such as dong quai and glycyrrhiza, dandelion root and others may be considered.
Consult a homeopath. Depending on the symptoms, a variety of homeopathic remedies may be beneficial.
Acupuncture can be useful both as a pain reliever and potentially as part of a curative protocol.
Deep abdominal massage by a practitioner with knowledge in this area can break down adhesions.
Fibroids are an overgrowth of uterine muscle that may develop as a type of polyp into the uterine space (intraluminal), within the uterine wall itself (intramural) or outside of the uterus (extramural). Depending on where they are, the symptoms of a fibroid may differ, although many fibroids are symptomless and will cause no problems. Their size is relevant to the level of discomfort they might cause by adding weight to the uterus which in turn will push on the sacral and possibly lumbar nerves causing discomfort and pain.
Symptoms will include increased bleeding (menor-rhagia), painful periods (dysmenorrhoea), painful intercourse (dyspareunia) and, much more rarely, discomfort.
Intraluminal fibroids are a cause of infertility and may be discovered when a couple investigate this distressing problem.
Fibroids found in the wall of the uterus may create all the problems associated with intraluminal fibroids and are actually far more common.
These fibroids do not carry the same number of complications, although painful intercourse and pressure-induced discomfort are the principal clues to discovery.
The orthodox world is uncertain as to the cause of fibroids but the consensus of opinion in the holistic medical world is that an excess of energy builds up in the pelvis, uterus or lower chakra .
Fibroids are much more under the control of oestrogen than endometrial tissue build-up, which is under the control of progesterone. Bear this in mind when referring to the section on menorrha-gia below. Fibroids often diminish through the menopause (when the oestrogen levels drop dramatically) and therefore progesterone treatment may be considered when dealing with fibroids.
Please refer to the recommendations in the next section on monorrhagia.
Homeopathic remedies should be considered at high potency and in particular Calcarea iod and Thuja should be reviewed.
Natural progesterone absorbed into the body through the skin can have very beneficial effects but often needs to be taken over a 2-year period. This needs to be monitored by a doctor or complementary medical practitioner with experience in this field. Please note that natural progesterone is currently available by extraction from the Mexican yam (no other wild yam has the same proven efficacy) but it cannot pass through the acid in the stomach and is therefore not available in pill form.
Orthodox treatment is restricted to operative procedures, either dilatation and curettage (D & C) or modern techniques using laser. It is becoming less common but hysterectomy is still too frequently recommended.