Case Study - Catherine, age 33: Catherine came to see me for secondary infertility with a history of miscarriage and severe endometriosis. Previously, she had had a laparoscopy and HSG to both treat the endometriosis and rule out structural obstructions or adhesions preventing her from conceiving naturally. In addition to still not being able to conceive, Catherine was experiencing severe cramping day 1 and 2 of her cycle, abdominal pain and bloating leading up to her periods and very heavy bleeding. There are many holistic treatments and lifestyle changes that can be useful for controlling endometriosis and for working with the underlying hormonal imbalances caused by endometriosis. Catherine and I worked with acupuncture and changes to her diet and supplement regimen to fit her symptoms and lifestyle. Immediately she noticed a lessening of her cramping and bloating. She was able to discontinue her pain medication completely after 3 months of treatment, and her bleeding was much more normal. After her endometriosis was under control, Catherine and her husband were able to conceive a second daughter on their own, and her oldest daughter is a happy, helpful big sister.
Endometriosis is the presence of endometrial cells which make up the inner lining of the uterus outside of the uterus in the pelvic cavity.
It is not entirely known why women with endometriosis often have difficulty conceiving.
THE FOLLOWING FACTORS HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED AS POTENTIAL FERTILITY IMPEDIMENTS FOR WOMEN WITH ENDOMETRIOSIS:
• The fallopian tubes may function abnormally, due to adhesions or scarring.
• The ovaries may not be functioning properly, possibly resulting in poor egg quality.
• Endometriosis may release toxic substances which may harm embryos during implantation.
• There may be higher risks for early miscarriage and chemical pregnancy.
• Immunological factors involved in endometriosis play an important role in endometriosis associated infertility.
Some women with endometriosis do not experience physical symptoms other than difficulty conceiving. The most common symptoms are:
• Menstrual cramps (pain level is not a good indicator of the severity of the endometriosis)
• Ovulation pain
• Difficult or painful intercourse
• Bleeding between periods
• Heavy menstrual bleeding
• Lower back pain
• Irregular or painful bowel movements
• Nausea and vomiting
• Infertility or sub-fertility
The Fertility Clinic takes a multi-faceted approach to the treatment of endometriosis. We focus on regulating the menstrual cycle to improve hormonal balance, which in turn produces healthier eggs and promotes successful ovulation. Endometriosis can adversely affect the uterine environment, so we include strategies to address blood flow and reduce the inflammatory immune response that may interfere with implantation. This encourages a more “friendly” uterine environment for both implantation and early pregnancy. Lastly, we work to address specific symptom discomforts such as menstrual cramping, heavy menstrual flow and digestive pain.
Many women notice an improvement in the symptoms of their endometriosis very early into treatment. Acupuncture is a great alternative to surgery for women without structural obstructions to fertility due to scarring or adhesions from endometriosis. Acupuncture, incorporated into a comprehensive plan of fertile-living strategies, can provide a great deal of help in reducing the negative impacts endometriosis has on fertility, and can allow for pregnancy to be possible.
The Fertility Clinic is a specialty reproductive acupuncture center with expertise and experience in the treatment of female and male fertility.
Erika Foy is a board certified, reproductive acupuncture specialist with a strong commitment to the quality of care and support she provides to her patients.
The Fertility Clinic at Practice Longevity
4040 N. Calhoun Rd.
Brookfield, Wi 53005
The Fertility Clinic is located in Brookfield and provides acupuncture fertility services to the greater Milwaukee area of Wisconsin.
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