Endometriosis – Is Surgery the Answer, or the Last Resort?

If you have or suspect you have endometriosis, you may be concerned about how it can affect fertility and whether surgery is the only answer. Maybe you aren’t really concerned about conceiving as much as finding relief to the excruciating pain this condition may cause. Either way, you will be happy to know surgery is not the only option and that there is a more natural way to approach this common gynecological condition.

Chinese medicine and acupuncture help to restore health when combined with nutritional therapy, stress reduction and lifestyle changes. If you are like many women who have sought treatment with a doctor who practices modern medicine, you may have been prescribed pain medications or  muscle relaxants to “deal” with the pain of endometriosis. Why settle for dealing, when healing is what you really want?

Surgery is one option to deal with the symptoms but not necessarily the best option in many cases. It is not a cure and an invasive procedure not without risks of infection, scar tissue build-up or adhesions post-surgically. While it may be a good option for some women experiencing severe pain with extensive endometriosis, surgery should be a last resort and considered only when other less invasive, natural treatment hasn’t proven effective. And even then, combining the use of more natural approaches before and after surgery will help to minimize possible negative consequences and promote and accelerate healing.

The only definitive diagnosis of endometriosis is through laparoscopy (lap) or MRI(currently not an option in Canada). A lap is both a surgery and a treatment in which tiny incisions are made near the navel and hip bones. A laparoscope/ tiny camera is inserted allowing the surgeon to see the inside of the abdomen. If there are endometrial tissue or lesions growing outside of the uterus, the doctor will remove them at this time. If you are trying to conceive, the doctor will tell you to try to conceive within six to nine months before the endometriosis comes back. Essentially, it is a symptomatic treatment.

Other mainstream medicine treatment is the use of hormonal drugs such as the birth control pill or lupron to silence the growth of endometrial tissue which is not an option  if you want to conceive because it prevents ovulation. The goal here is to mask or reduce the pain and symptoms using pain relievers, hormones, and/or surgery – and possibly a hysterectomy in which case you will never be able to conceive. Really?

Now let’s talk about other solutions that focus on healing and promoting health and fertility in ways that are natural and non-invasive. Often characterized as a disease of inflammation, endometriosis is thought to affect about 10% of women of child-bearing age. In Chinese and naturopathic medicine, we strive to reduce pain, ease inflammation, balance the energy pathways or meridians in the body, eliminate toxins and balance hormones using a combination of acupuncture, Chinese herbs, naturopathic medicine and other therapies tailored to your individual needs. Only by learning about your lifestyle, diet, supplements,  health history, environmental factors and analyzing blood work is it possible to develop a “plan of attack” for treating your endometriosis!

Acupuncture is a useful tool that’s used for nearly all patients as it reduces pain, promotes calmness and relaxation, reduces inflammation, and helps with the emotional imbalances such as depression and anxiety you may experience with endometriosis. Reducing inflammation is key to reducing pain, as much of the pain you suffer with this condition is due to inflammation.

Diet is also a key factor, as what you eat can actually drive the inflammation in your body. When we can find all of the sources that fuel inflammation and include acupuncture along with natural herbs that have anti-inflammatory properties, it is possible to alleviate much of the pain and inflammation you experience.

Your body has an amazing ability to heal itself physically, emotionally and spiritually. If you suffer from endometriosis and think surgery is the only option you have, think again! We invite you to contact Alive Holistic Health Clinic to learn more about a more natural way to treat and overcome this painful condition while empowering your fertility.