Updated: May 25
Uterine inner lining tissue is shedding away from uterus causing monthly uterine bleeding. This particular tissue could grow elsewhere outside of uterus and still remain its characteristics of shedding every month. This misplaced tissue is often found in the ovaries, fallopian tubes and outside of uterus. Also it could be found outside of intestine, bowel, bladder or on the surface of lining of pelvic cavity, peritoneum. These misplaced tissues are responding hormonal changes, but they cannot shed; they are inseparable from the tissues which cause scarring and adhesions. This causes problems for some women. This condition is called endometriosis. Most women with endometriosis are aged between 25-35. Endometriosis does not always produce symptoms. When it does, it mainly causes pain, irregular menstrual bleeding and infertility.
Many women experience period pain, intercourse pain and pelvic pain which is unrelated to menstruation and intercourse. Irregular menstruation, excessive bleeding and clot are common. About 50% infertile women suffer from endometriosis. Pelvic pain and period pain are the most common symptoms for endometriosis. The pain depends on where the misplaced tissues are located. Deeper implants and implanted area with many pain sensing nerves may be more likely to produce pain. Implanted tissues may produce substances causing pain. Scars formed by implanted tissues could cause pain. Heavy and irregular period is also common symptom of endometriosis. Infertility is another common symptom resulted from endometriosis. The reason for decreased fertility caused by endometriosis is not completely understood. This could be anatomical or hormonal reasons. Misplace tissues cause adhesion and distort normal reproductive system anatomy. For example, it blocks tube affecting egg transportation. It may also affect hormone production causing imbalanced hormone affecting fertility. Misplaced tissue causes local inflammation altering environment of reproductive system.
Surgical treatment focuses on removal of endometrial tissues; medications using birth control pills focuses on regain hormonal balance. Apart from conventional treatment, acupuncture is a new trend to treat endometriosis. Acupuncture reduces pain by its analgesic effect producing endorphins. Acupuncture improves heavy bleeding. Acupuncture also improves fertility for women with endometriosis by reducing local inflammation and restoring hormone balance. Acupuncture improves local circulation, balances hormonal levels, reduces inflammation and improves immune function. Recent studies showed that the ectopic tissues were reduced and the invasion of ectopic tissue to extracellular matrix was inhibited. The symptoms such as period pain, irregular menstruation and chronic pelvic pain in endometriosis were significantly improved.
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