Conventional and herbal treatment strategies in the management of endometriosis

Endometriosis is a complex and debilitating condition that can affect any woman. It is one of the commonest benign gynaecological conditions in which tissue that would normally grow only in the endometrium (lining of the uterus) is found elsewhere in the abdominal and pelvic cavities. The condition is characterised by cyclical bleeding of the tissues and the formation of painful cysts. In more severe cases, the endometrial tissue can migrate to other parts of the body and this presents a complicated clinical picture particularly if there is multisystem involvement. Treatment is really a case of symptom management and quite often, surgical intervention is necessary. Conventional and herbal treatment approaches share the same aims and objectives in the management of this condition.

Recent studies on the effect of interferon α-2b, an immune cytokine, offer fresh hope to those who prefer drug-based therapies but find current medication incompatible. Herbal treatment strategies include redressing hormonal imbalances and individually-tailored formulations on a symptomatic basis. Important herbs such as licorice, agnus castus (vitex), false unicorn root and wild yam are among a host of herbal medicines chosen. A more holistic approach adopted will address the psychological and emotional aspects of patient care and in this regard, herbs such as chamomile, valerian, Siberian ginseng and lemon balm to name but a few, have proven extremely useful. Hormonal imbalances and other, more profound symptoms can also be addressed nutritionally. Moreover, infertility and pain are two of the major symptoms that can be addressed effectively through diet. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) such as fish oils, evening primrose oil (EPO), starflower oil, borage oil and linseed oil (flaxseed oil) all metabolise within the body to form anti-inflammatory prostaglandins (PGE1) which help reduce pain and inflammation. Additionally, fish oil supplementation has been shown to significantly reduce the size of enmdometrial deposits.

Read the full article here: treatment-management-of-endometriosis

Primary Health Care 2006; 16(5): 21-24rcnpublishing

Primary Health Care journal is Royal College of Nursing publication