March is Endometriosis Awareness Month
We’d like to take a pause to honor every woman struggling with the symptoms of endometriosis. So often overlooked and underserved, this is a debilitating and relentless (and prevalent) disease. As many as 20% of women suffer with the hallmark sign of pain – pain with the period, pain with intercourse, pain with bowel movements, sometimes even pain with urination. And unfortunately, many women who have endometriosis also struggle with infertility.
In Chinese medicine we see endometriosis as “blood stagnation,” which is kind of a blunt way of describing the condition. After all, it is stuck blood and tissue where it should not be. However, the question we must answer if we’re going to help reduce symptoms long-term is, “why is the blood stagnation there?” There are a few common patterns that often make someone more vulnerable to developing endometriosis – in Chinese Medicine terms we call them Yang deficiency, Qi stagnation, and Qi deficiency.
Treating these underlying causes while addressing the pain often yields excellent results. Herbal medicine is very effective at helping move the “blood stagnation” while in addition to caring for whatever underlying pattern is present. We often prescribe different herbs just before and during the period to maximize pain relief and then other herbs to take during the menstrual cycle. Acupuncture is an excellent tool for managing pain and we recommend timing at least one acupuncture visit for the week before you expect your period to be due.
We offer telehealth herbal consults as well as in-person visits at either our Raleigh or Chapel Hill location, whichever best suits your needs. We are dedicated to helping you manage your endometriosis pain naturally.
At Home Tips:
Diet Modifications to Decrease Endometriosis Pain and Lower Inflammation
Even if endometriosis is surgically removed, it will often grow back if the body’s environment doesn’t change in order to discourage its regrowth. The best long-term solution is to naturally help the body in reducing inflammation and oxidative damage while supporting healthy hormone levels and detoxification processes. The biggest and best place to start this is your diet. What you don’t eat is just as important as what you do eat. Try to avoid:
- Red meat
Do eat a plant-based diet:
- Aim for 6-10 cups of vegetables/day, especially leafy greens. Having a green smoothie every day helps you get this goal in.
- Eat a handful of nuts or seeds every day – walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, pecans, hemp hearts, chia seeds, sesame seeds.
- Include 1 cup of cooked plant based protein such as black beans, chickpeas, lentils, mushrooms, kidney beans.
- Have 6oz of fish or pastured chicken
- Make sure you have a bowel movement every day – add a fiber supplement if necessary