Endometriosis

Endometriosis (en-doe-me-tree-O-sis) is an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus. Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining your pelvis. Rarely, endometrial tissue may spread beyond pelvic organs.

With endometriosis, displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would — it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. Because this displaced tissue has no way to exit your body, it becomes trapped. When endometriosis involves the ovaries, cysts called endometriomas may form. Surrounding tissue can become irritated, eventually developing scar tissue and adhesions — abnormal bands of fibrous tissue that can cause pelvic tissues and organs to stick to each other.

Endometriosis can cause pain — sometimes severe — especially during your period. Fertility problems also may develop. Fortunately, effective treatments are available.

  • painful periods
  • pain in the lower abdomen before and during menstruation
  • cramps one or two weeks around menstruation
  • heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding between periods
  • infertility
  • pain following sexual intercourse
  • discomfort with bowel movements
  • lower back pain that may occur at any time during your menstrual cycle

You may also have no symptoms. It’s important that you get yearly gynecological exams. This will allow your gynecologist to monitor any changes. This is particularly important if you have two or more symptoms.

Endometriosis According to Ayurveda

Endometriosis is primarily a Kapha problem due to the increasing buildup of cells and overgrowing much like a tumor . Endometriosis can also be thought of as a Pitta problem because of the involvement of blood, hormones, and menstruation as well as the inflammatory nature of the disease. Vata is also involved in a number of ways. One is the painful nature of endometriosis which places Vata at the center of the imbalance. Then, there is the involvement of Apana Vayu in the downward movement of menstrual flow and also the involvement of vata in the circulation of blood. Perhaps the most obvious sign of the role of Vata is the displacement of endometrial cells from their original location in the uterus to places outside. Therefore, endometriosis is a Sannipatika condition involving all three doshas although the proportion of each may vary to a certain extent according to the individual patient.

Of the three sources found, one strongly emphasizes the role of pitta in the etiology of endometriosis and another considers vata as the main cause through the involvement of the mind. I personally consider it a condition of Vata pushing Pitta pushing Kapha out of balance. My rationale for this is the very definition of endometriosis which is the growth of endometrial cells outside the uterus. This to me, places Vata at the base of the problem. Also, if we consider the modern medicine's theory of retrograde menstruation, we can see the involvement or rather the obstruction of Apana Vayu which holds Pitta (blood) and causes it to move up and around. Pitta then becomes vitiated causing heavy bleeding and inflammation. This pitta vitiation creates an irritation which induces kapha to enter to provide comfort by coating the irritated area. The kapha influence then causes a buildup of cells and overgrowth. Thus, the Sannipatika nature of the disease.

According to the Charak, there are twenty types of Yoni Vyapat or vaginal disorders, none of which seem to describe endometriosis individually. However, Madhava Nidhanam, a text of clinical symptomology, has references to disorders that have some similarities to endometriosis. The reference that I considered closest to endometriosis was that of Yoni Kanda or vaginal tumor . The text states:” If the mass is rough, discolored, and fissured, it is of vata origin; burning sensation, red color, accompanied by fever, is of pitta origin; blue and resembling a flower of linseed and having itching are found in that of kapha origin. Presence of all three symptoms is that caused by the increase of all three doshas are seen as the features of this disease” .