Triumps and Tribulations of Treating Endometriosis
By Dr. Rhianna Weaver at Big Sky Fertility and Wellness
1 out of 10 women (and I honestly suspect more) have be diagnosed with Endometriosis in the United Sates, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I have treated it many times throughout my career. My treatments have involved helping women get pregnant or using acupuncture and Chinese herbs to manage the symptoms which can range from mild discomfort, to debilitating pain. I’ve treated it with success and with failure. I’d go as far to say that endometriosis is probably one of the most difficult inflammatory conditions to treat.
Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease where the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus (where it isn’t supposed to). Endo is elusive, it can present as many different symptoms, at different times of the cycle, at different times in a woman’s life. I remember one case in particular, a woman in her late 20’s, who was going through IVF. Her and her partner had been trying to have a baby for years without luck. After every test and hormone panel came back normal, she elected to get a laparoscopic procedure to surgically go in and see what was going on in. They had found SEVERE endometriosis, which had grown over her fallopian tubes, ovaries, and throughout her colon. She had to have a fallopian tube, and an ovary removed. The crazy thing about this situation was that she never felt pain, not even during her period! I treated her for 3 months, twice a week, and she ended up having a successful IVF transfer and is now a mama to a happy little baby boy.
I’ve helped many women get pregnant with endometriosis, but it is a difficult road. It takes a long time to get the inflammation down, and the lesions to stop growing. It takes even longer to get the endometrial lesions to shrink. I always advise giving yourself a full year of treatment with acupuncture and Chinese herbs to see substantial results. Working with diet, nutrition, supplementation, and lifestyle changes is also key to getting endometriosis in a manageable place. I would be cautious with anyone who tells you treating endo is easy.
I have had my fair share of failures. Times in which acupuncture and herbs did not do anything to change the excruciating pain. Times in which women elected to go through complete hysterectomies, so that they did not have to feel the discomfort anymore. It is heartbreaking.
Although there is not a cure for endo, there are many treatments out there that can help manage symptoms. From heat therapy, e-stim therapy, and many others, I encourage you to try acupuncture and herbs and see whether it is a good fit for you. In my office I use everything in my tool belt to help manage this disease and hopefully get you pregnant. For now, tell me your story and leave a comment below.