Endometriosis and adenomyosis

Testimonials

Mrs Lombardelli came from Italy to TCM Healthcare’s fertility clinic every month. She had been receiving treatment for about 4 months when she told us this.

“I have a laboratory report from my doctor to say that my endometriosis is completely gone. I would like to continue treatment for infertility.”

Mrs Paul, from London, had undergone treatment for a month.

“I used to have so much pain that I had to lie down for 2 days when my period came. I am amazed that, just after a month, I could be serving guests at a party during my party.”

Elizabeth Douglas, 41, had 4 cycles of failed IVF before she came to us. Her story was published in Real magazine in 2002. Call us for a copy of the article.

“We saw Professor Li at the TCM Healthcare fertility clinic. He asked me a lot of questions: what food I liked, whether I was hot or cold, and also looked at my tongue and took my pulse in both wrists. His diagnosis was that my chi (life energy) was completely out of alignment and that I was far too cold. He gave me a concoction of herbs to boil up and drink twice a day, which tasted revolting, but I persevered and kept going back for consultations.

After about 6 months, he told me his treatment had finished and I simply had to be patient. Incredibly, in just 2 months, I was ringing him with the wonderful news that I was pregnant.

It wasn’t a great pregnancy. I was sick and suffered bad indigestion but Matthew was born healthy last June. We’ll always be grateful to the IVF consultants, but without Chinese medicine, we may never have found the final piece in the puzzle, which allowed us to become parents at long last.”  

Endometriosis occurs when tissue is found outside the uterus that appears similar to the lining of the uterus (endometrium). It may grow on the outside of your uterus, ovaries, tubes and even on your bladder or intestines. This tissue can cause pain and adhesions (scar tissue) on the organs it touches.

This is not to be confused with adenomyosis which is a condition in which the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium) breaks through the muscle wall of the uterus (the myometrium).

Endometriosis and fibroids share some common symptoms such as pain. Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in or around the womb (uterus). The growths are made up of muscle and fibrous tissue, and vary in size. For more information about fibroid, click here.

Diagnosing Endometriosis

If you have endometriosis, you likely have period pain, which can be severe. It manifests itself as pelvic or abdominal pain, particularly with menstrual bleeding or with sex. Sometimes, endometriosis can grow inside your ovary and form a cyst (endometrioma). This can usually be seen on an ultrasound, unlike other endometriotic tissue. The only way for you to tell if you have endometriosis is through laparoscopy.

Endometriosis and infertility

It may be more difficult for you to become pregnant, if you have endometriosis. It is estimated up to 50% of women with the condition may experience infertility, as it can distort your pelvis anatomy, scar fallopian tubes, inflame pelvic structures, alter your immune system function, change your eggs’ hormonal environment, impair implantation of a pregnancy, or alter egg quality.

There are four stages of development, from stage 1 (minimal) to stage 4 (severe). Severe endometriosis, which causes considerable scarring, blocked fallopian tubes and damaged ovaries, often requires advanced fertility treatment. 

How does Conventional medicine treat endometriosis?

Endometriosis needs the female hormone oestrogen to develop and grow. Birth control pills and other drugs that lower or block oestrogen can be effective in improving pain symptoms. For patients who wish to get pregnant, though, this approach clearly presents a problem.

More invasive techniques, such as surgery, may thus be considered prior to attempts at conception, but some doctors think this treatment won’t improve pregnancy rates.

How do we treat endometriosis?

In our medical system, we believe that Endometriosis are caused by some kind of blockage. The blockage itself may not be visible but this can be the root cause of Endometriosis. More importantly , the blockage may also be a contributing factor for infertility. You may therefore wish to consider dealing with the root causes of the problem. The first step is to do a Female fertility profile test to see if the Endometriosis are hormone related or that you have hormone imbalance. Should the results show that hormone imbalance may be the casual factor, we can set about correcting the imbalance to see if the Endometriosis can improve or better managed. The treatment has no adverse side effects and you would see your general health improved too.

At TCM Healthcare, we treat endometriosis with a 2-stage approach. 

Stage 1 — controlling symptoms

The main symptom of endometriosis is period pain, which can sometimes be severe. We first use a natural herb remedy for the pain. Our experience is that for most women, pain should be under control within 2–3 months.

Stage 2 — dealing with the root cause of endometriosis, including infertility issues

We actually start tackling your endometriosis as soon as you come to us, ie in stage 1. While we work to minimise and eliminate your pain, we are also dealing with the crux of your condition. It should be noticed the latter takes a bit more time; we have a good track record in reducing endometriosis, as confirmed by laparoscopy. 

In addition, since endometriosis affects fertility, our focus is also to improve reproductive functions all round (reducing and getting rid of scarring and adhesions on reproductive organs, and improving egg quality). 

A diagram of the female reproductive system, drawn with Chinese calligraphy, TCM Healthcare — London fertility clinic

Our specialist prescribes a unique herbal formula, usually consisting of around 20 kinds of herbs, from which you will make drinks and consume twice a day for 18 days in a month.

Most patients observe substantially reduced pain between 2 and 3 months of treatment. We ask all our patients to have a laparoscopy after 6 months of treatment to see how well you have responded. 

Most patients tell us they experience much less pain. Since we do not use painkillers, this is likely that less area is being affected i.e. when the shredding of lining comes during period time, less lining outside the uterus is being shredded resulting in much less pain. Indeed, Laparoscopy performed also reveal fewer areas are affected.

Patients that finish the full course of treatment that are properly discharged usually do not experience the period pain symptoms and endometriosis again. 

Adenomyosis

Adenomyosis is a condition in which the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium) breaks through the muscle wall of the uterus (the myometrium). Adenomyosis can cause menstrual cramps, lower abdominal pressure, and bloating before menstrual periods and can result in heavy periods. The condition can be located throughout the entire uterus or localised in one spot.

Though adenomyosis is considered a benign (not life-threatening) condition, the frequent pain and heavy bleeding associated with it can have a negative impact on a woman's quality of life e.g. you may lose too much blood that doctors may prescribe iron tablets. This in turn can cause side effects such as constipation.

What are the symptoms of adenomyosis?

While some women diagnosed with adenomyosis have no symptoms, the disease can cause:

1. Heavy, prolonged menstrual bleeding

2. Severe menstrual cramps

3. Abdominal pressure and bloating

Who gets adenomyosis?

Adenomyosis is a common condition. It is most often diagnosed in middle-aged women and women who have had children. Some studies also suggest that women who have had prior uterine surgery may be at risk for adenomyosis.

Though the cause of adenomyosis isn't known, studies have suggested that various hormones e.g. estrogen, prolactin, progesterone, and follicle stimulating hormone, may trigger the condition.

Diagnosing adenomyosis

If a doctor suspects adenomyosis, the first step is a physical exam. A pelvic exam may reveal an enlarged and tender uterus. An ultrasound can allow a doctor to see the uterus, its lining, and its muscular wall.

MRI -- magnetic resonance imaging -- can be used to confirm a diagnosis of adenomyosis in women with abnormal uterine bleeding.

Adenomyosis and fibroids

Since the symptoms are so similar, adenomyosis is often misdiagnosed as uterine fibroids. However, the two conditions are not the same. While fibroids are benign tumors growing in or on the uterine wall, adenomyosis is less of a defined mass of cells within the uterine wall.

Adenomyosis and infertility

Since many women who have adenomyosis also have endometriosis, it is difficult to tell precisely what role adenomyosis may play in fertility problems. However, some studies have shown that adenomyosis may contribute to infertility.

How does conventional medicine treat adenomyosis?

Treatment for adenomyosis depends in part on your symptoms, their severity, and whether you have completed childbearing. Mild symptoms may be treated with over-the-counter pain medications and the use of a heating pad to ease cramps. More severe symptoms are usually treated with Anti-inflammatory medication, Hormone therapy, and Endometrial ablation. However these therapies tend to offer temporary relief rather than long term cure. In addition, they may side effects which you do not like to see.

Can adenomyosis be cured by conventional medicine?

The only definitive cure for adenomyosis is a hysterectomy i.e. the removal of the uterus. This is often the treatment suggested for women with significant symptoms. This clearly has a major impact on fertility.

How do we treat adenomyosis?

In our medical system, we believe that adenomyosis is caused by some kind of blockage. The blockage itself may not be visible. It may also be a contributing factor for infertility picture. You may therefore wish to consider dealing with the root causes of the problem. The first step is to do a Female fertility profile test to see if the adenomyosis are hormone related. Should the results show that hormone imbalance may be the casual factor, we can set about correcting the imbalance to see if adenomyosis can be better managed.

In cases where the test shows that the hormones appear to be normal, our treatment will focus on treating all associated symptoms such as pain, heavy bleeding naturally by dealing with the blockage we found. Most patients see significant improvements by the end of the first course of treatment i.e. 3 months, if not earlier. When these symptoms improve, it would mean that adenomyosis is less of a problem. Notice that our treatment outcome tends to be longer term as it is not just giving you temporary relief. Your chances of pregnancy should increase as a result. The treatment has no adverse side effects and you would see your general health improved too.

What are our fees? 

The fees come to about £350–400 a month, all inclusive. 

How often do I need to come?

Once a month. Most patients come from 3 to 9 months. Some combine our treatment with further IVF cycles.

What to expect during a consultation

A traditional Chinese medical consultation involves the following steps.

Observation

The practitioner may scrutinise your complexion, eyes, tongue, and movements to gain insight into how your organs are functioning. The tongue is a particularly important source of information, and its colour, body, coating, and moisture will all be taken into account.

Assessment

The practitioner assesses the patient’s energy and general condition by taking into account your body heat, odour, skin sensitivity, and uses other senses to gain an insight into the your condition.

Taking a history

To gain a full picture, the practitioner will ask detailed questions about your complaint and your medical history. They will want to find out whether your problems vary at all according to the time of year and your diet, feelings or emotions.

Pulse diagnosis

This can provide a highly sensitive and detailed picture of your general health. The practitioner will take a number of different ‘pulses’ using three fingers put on the wrist of each hand of the patient. This enables him to gain further information about the quality and functioning of the five major organs. The practitioner will take account of your general health and strength, as well as all of your symptoms, whether they seem to you to be connected or not. This will be the basis for deciding on the best treatment.

Follow up

Monthly consultations are required to gauge your progress. The prescriptions will be devised accordingly — for treating a changing condition, a fixed single herb or formula is unlikely to be effective over time.

Patients want to know how long they need to see us for. We say after 3 months of treatment, we will review progress, retesting hormones and check subjective experience, such as period cycle regularity and sexual interest. If they are at normal levels, we discharge the patients.

If they are better but still need further improvement, patients may need second course of treatment at the same or less intensity.

Typically, women see us for 3 courses of treatment, ie 9 months total.

The point is that the way we treat patients means they should not rely on our treatment for too long. Their improved health and function should stay with them if they look after their health.

A second opinion service

We have just launched a second opinion service where you can send us your hormone test results, sperm test results and other results. Consultations will be done on the phone and it will not be a face-to-face medical consultation.

Since we work with IUI, IVF, ICSI, egg and sperm freezing specialists, we can explore a full range of options with you prior to your committing to a course of actions that may be best for you. There is no charge for this service.

We offer this service in good faith based on our clinical experience and our work with partner agencies such as IVF specialists. We do not accept any liability and we will urge you to triangulate opinions given with your own doctors before you decide what may be best for your circumstance.

Book an appointment!

Call us any time on 0207 096 0283 or fill out our enquiry form.

We would like to see the following test results (less than 2 months old):

If you have not done them yet, we can arrange them for you. Results come out in 1–3 days.

A booking fee of £50 (refunded when you attend) will be processed at booking. 

Are there patients we cannot help?

Yes. No medical system is foolproof and medical practitioners, however good, are not omnipotent. As great as our success rates are, they are not 100%. There are times patients do not respond to our treatments despite our best efforts.

Delayed improvements are possible when patients rest a little. However, even with rest, patients may still not respond well. Fortunately, these cases are in the minority. We minimise the number of these cases by trying to understand our patients’ conditions as much as possible before taking them on. We minimise time and financial commitments from patients by insisting they have hormone or sperm test results prior to treatment, and to get retested after 3 months —following our evidence-based approach.

At TCM Healthcare, we will always have your best interests in mind and we will do our best.