Effects of Homeopathy Treatment in Endometriosis

Abstract

Endometriosis refers to a situation in women caused by the migration of the endometrium and it becomes implanted on other areas inside the pelvis. Reasonably, it is a common condition in women where the tissue lining the uterus grows outside the uterus. Statistics carried out in New Zealand indicated that 15 to 20 percent of women suffer from endometriosis and it occurs mostly in infertile women. The condition happens in women with ages ranging from 25 to 40 years though it also occurs in young teenagers.

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The condition grows slowly but worsens as it grows. The disease cannot be cured but it can be treated. In this case, homeopathy treatment is being explored as one of the treatment methods and it has the effects of alleviating the symptoms of endometriosis. In spite of many options of treatment of endometriosis, hormonal treatment, and laparotomy or laparoscopy seem to have less treatment impact since they fail to cure but alleviate symptoms of the condition. The entire research shall be done; comparative as well as a non-randomized study will involve 75 women with age ranging from 25 to 40 years.

The women will have to undergo some treatment for endometriosis. The women will be treated using homeopathy as well as other similar treatment methods meant to alleviate symptoms of endometriosis. Various interviews will be carried in order to assess their symptoms as well as the conditions they experience after the treatment. Their symptoms will have to be determined for the last 4 months in order to determine any changes after treatment.

They will also be required to give brief histories of their cases when they gave birth to a child; moreover, they will be required to give information regarding whether they want to have a child after treatment or else no desire. They are required to exhibit a regular cycle of 25 to 40 days. The research will consider all the safety measures, all ethical issues as well as data collection procedures. The data will have to be collated and computerized and the full analysis of the data as well as the comparisons of the various groups will be carried out.

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Introduction

Endometriosis is based on estrogen hence there is a risk of affecting women`s ability to have children. The condition is most common in 20 to 50 percent of infertile females. However, the disease can affect 80 percent of women suffering from pelvic problems (Gulati 2004). The condition is common in women ranging from teenagers to those facing menopause. Endometriosis can as well be chronic and a weakening condition in most women in the world (Kingsberg and Janta 2007). It affects two million females in the United Kingdom. Homeopathy is used to treat endometriosis among other physical conditions as well as psychological situations such as depression.

In homeopathy, a substance perceived to cause a certain condition can be also used to alleviate the condition as well. In addition, practitioners of homeopathy believe that when more of a substance is diluted, there are great chances to treat various symptoms. Therefore, most of the homeopathic remedies include the substances that are diluted in water many times until none of them has the original substance (Banerjee 2001). There have been in-depth investigations on the effectiveness of homeopathy. It appears that homeopathy is an effective treatment method for any condition concerning health.

This paper will deeply explore endometriosis as a condition in women while determining the effects that homeopathy treatment has in an attempt to alleviate or to lessen the symptoms of endometriosis in women (Ruddock 2008). It will go further to investigate whether the symptoms of endometriosis changed after the homeopathic treatment. The entire objective of this research is to determine the efficacy that homeopathy has as compared to placebo in an attempt to treat symptoms in women suffering from endometriosis as compared to those who avoid or fail to take any medications (Kingsberg and Janta 2007).

Keywords: Homeopathy, endometriosis, alleviating, treatment, laparoscopy, hysterectomy, symptoms.

Aims and Objectives

  1. To determine the signs and symptoms of endometriosis.
  2. To determine whether the endometriosis symptoms change after the homeopathy treatment.
  3. To determine the efficacy in homeopathy versus placebo in endometriosis treatment.

Signs and Symptoms of Endometriosis

Endometriosis comes along with various symptoms in women that include painful periods, pain during sexual intercourse as well as abnormal menstrual bleeding that involves heavy periods or bleeding between the periods and difficulty or inability to conceive (Kingsberg and Janta 2007). Other similar symptoms experienced by women suffering from endometriosis include pain at times other than when having periods, lower back pain, painful bowel movements, and pain when passing wind, opening the bowels, or bloating. Constipation and diarrhea are symptoms of endometriosis in women.

Others include constant tiredness, premenstrual syndrome, depression, and mood disruptions as well as pain before or while passing urine (Kumar 2002). However, the severity of the symptoms experienced by an individual woman is not always linked to the extent of the illness. This is because some women having mild endometriosis happen to suffer from severe symptoms and the reverse is true. Not all women suffering from endometriosis will bear regular symptoms every month. The major, as well as the primary symptoms of endometriosis, include the pelvic pain. The pain is always recurring and can as well range from being mild to being severe.

The manifestation of the disease is felt as severe cramping that occurs on both sides of the pelvis, in the lower back and rectal area, and in rare cases, down the legs. However, the amount of pain experienced by a woman is not associated with the extent of the disease since pain may not be experienced even in advanced stages of the disease. Other women happen to experience pain during the initial stages of endometriosis. Throbbing, gnawing, and dragging pain to the legs are reported more commonly by women with endometriosis. Endometriosis lesions react to hormonal stimulation and may bleed at the time of menstruation. The blood causes swelling as well as triggers inflammatory responses (Garry 2004).

Causes of Endometriosis

Modern medicine does not offer clear illustrations as to what causes endometriosis. However, the lack of any scientific proof for the cause of endometriosis offers a chance for more researches to be conducted on conventional medicine (Campton 2009). A theory to explain the causes of endometriosis is that the small amount of blood from menstrual bleeding lacks to move through the vagina but travels back to the fallopian tube and back to the pelvic cavity (Garry 2004).

The endometrial cells that are inside this blood in the pelvic cavity produce endometrial tissues outside the uterus. However, there is no understanding yet as to how the entire process leads to the disease in some females although not in all. Most studies prove that the disease has to be linked with the functioning of one’s immune system.

According to another theory, endometrial cells can be moved within the entire bloodstream. The theory lays its foundation on the fact that cells can be isolated from blood in blood vessels and this explains the cases of endometriosis found in obscure sections such as lungs. Moreover, traditional Chinese as well as Oriental medicine have different approaches and understandings towards the causes of endometriosis. However, one fits the current scientific knowledge hence fills in many gaps in scientific theories concerning endometriosis (Ullman 2002).

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The disease is widely classified as liver disorder by traditional Chinese medicine and it is associated with stagnation of the liver. For all women suffering from endometriosis, the entire underlying cause towards the liver stagnation appears to be slightly different although the result is similar (Garry 2004).

Moreover, recent studies support the theory by implicating chronic exposure to dioxins to liver health and endometriosis independently. Dioxin is an environmental pollutant. It is unfortunate for women who lead a modern lifestyle since it is difficult for them to avoid these dioxins. This is because they are found in fish, dairy products among them meat produced for human consumption (Hahnemann 2008). Moreover, a compromised liver plays a part in weakening the immune system that is also a factor implicated in endometriosis (Garry 2004).

In addition, apart from stress and environmental pollutants, conventional drugs as well as medications are large to be blamed for liver weakness and stagnation. Painkillers are a big culprit in endometriosis. Most women suffering from endometriosis will often depend on painkillers as well as Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) in order to assist them to cope with pain during menstruation periods. NSAIDs happen to be in the most damaging category of drugs, especially to kidneys and liver. These medicines can worsen the disease while at the same time causing irreversible effects (Vercellini, Crosignani, Abbiati, Somigliana E et.al 2009).

Diagnosis of Endometriosis

The only method that offers 100 percent certainty of endometriosis diagnosis is referred to as laparoscopy. This method allows a doctor to look right into a woman’s abdomen where the pelvic organs are located using a designed lens in order to determine the location of implants (Lalor 2004). There are several tests carried out before the actual laparoscopy that include a blood test, vaginal cultures in order to check any infections in the vagina, ultrasound, and MRI in order to ensure that there is nothing else apart from the implants.

In this procedure, the doctor inserts a long thin tube with a camera at the tip through a fine incision of a woman’s abdomen. The laparoscope gives a chance to see the inner parts of the abdomen as well as displaying it on the monitor. Moreover, the abdominal cavity is filled with a gas (carbon dioxide) in order to improve internal visibility (Vercellini, Crosignani, Abbiati, Somigliana E et.al 2009).

Treatment of Endometriosis

This is the key area of study. Treatment of the disease aims at alleviating symptoms as well as minimizing the complications. Moreover, the type of treatment to be used for endometriosis will depend on certain factors such as the severity of the condition, the period during which a woman has been affected, age as well as whether the woman wishes to have babies in the future (Tulandi & Redwine 2003).

Non-surgical treatment will focus on the relief of symptoms by the use of medications as well as lifestyle changes. Pain-relieving or rather analgesic medications among hormone treatment is widely used. For the mild situations of endometriosis, pain-relieving medications may be necessary as the only treatment procedure in order to alleviate the symptoms (Liddell 2005). The most commonly used analgesics include paracetamol and NSAIDs such as Naprosyn or Voltaren. On the other hand, hormone treatment will tend to a reduction of the amount of estrogen found in a woman’s body hence reducing the development of endometrial implants (Desai 2009).

Moreover, the entire effectiveness of the hormonal method of treatment varies and most importantly appears best in the cases of mild endometriosis in women. In this case, several hormone treatment methods can be applied (Vercellini, Crosignani, Abbiati, Somigliana E et.al 2009). These include Danazol and Gestrinone although they are perceived to be weak versions of treatment by male hormones that work towards the prevention of common hormonal alterations in the entire body. In turn, this hormonal treatment helps in preventing the development of endometrial implants outside the uterus. The treatment comes with several side effects that include acne, increased hair growth, oily skin as well as gaining weight.

Moreover, the lifestyle changes appear important in this case and include stress management, avoidance of smoking, pain management, reduction of intake of alcohol, maintenance of balanced diets as well as avoiding all the activities causing any pain such as exercises (Liddell 2005).

Another hormonal treatment of endometriosis in women is Gonadotropin which increases the levels of GnRH. The treatment tends to work preventing the release of the hormones in the pituitary gland hence stopping the ovaries from estrogen production. In other words, the endometrial tissue has no chance to grow outside the uterus since the estrogen production is inhibited from growing outside the woman’s uterus (Trickely 2002). The medication is mostly delivered through injections or like nasal sprays. However, they can be used only for a few months since they have great chances of leading to bone loss when used over a long period (Liddell 2005).

In addition, endometriosis can be treated through surgical means. In this case, surgery is used in order to treat symptoms of the condition as well as prevent the condition’s progression in women. The endometrial implants as well as the scars can be removed from a woman’s body while carrying out a laparoscopy procedure. The implants and scars are usually cauterized or else burned using electrical currents or cut off from the woman’s body to avoid more growth. The surgical method of treatment of endometriosis is mostly used in mild to moderate endometriosis as well as for those women who wish to preserve fertility while at the same time to increase their chances of getting pregnant in the future (Ross 2006).

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In various cases of severe endometriosis that is characterized by heavy symptoms as well as when a woman does not in any way want to become pregnant in the future, a more extensive surgical operation is always recommended by the practitioners (Liddell 2005). The surgical operation, in this case, involves the entire removal of the woman’s uterus (hysterectomy), the fallopian tubes as well as deep implants of endometrium and tissue scars that develop outside the uterus.

Moreover, the ovaries are removed in order to prevent any fluctuations of the oestrogen levels that may end up causing the remaining endometrial implants to continue to grow. In such cases, it is always important to start hormone replacement therapy immediately after the surgery (Vercellini, Crosignani, Abbiati, Somigliana E et.al 2009).

An alternative treatment of endometriosis includes acupuncture as well as homeopathy together with particular diets that offer relief from certain symptoms of endometriosis in certain females. Moreover, the application of particular vitamin treatment also proves important and effective towards alleviating symptoms of endometriosis (Batt 2011). In the treatment processes of endometriosis, it is always crucial to hold discussions with the specialists so that they can offer appropriate treatment to the woman suffering from endometriosis (Koshi, Short 2007).

The Need for This Research

Homeopathy treatment method in alleviating symptoms in women suffering from endometriosis has been used in many cases as a remedy alongside some natural herbal remedies. Homeopathy is not widely spread in health services centers. There have been various reviews on scientific evidence of the effectiveness of treatment through homeopathy (Wallace 2005). Several opinions have been provided by various departments of health sciences such as the House of Common Science and Technology Committee that suggested that there is no evidence towards the effectiveness of homeopathy treatment in endometriosis. There is no evidence that substances engaged in the inducement of certain conditions such as endometriosis can further be used to treat the conditions (Kingsberg and Janta 2007).

In other words, the ideas that are presented in homeopathy are not acceptable in the science mainstream hence they are not in any way consistent with the accepted principles in the world of science (Slon 2006). Therefore, these arguments fueled this study since there is a need to know to what extent homeopathy alleviates symptoms of endometriosis in women despite all the arguments.

Some people using homeopathy seem to bear improvements in health conditions because of the placebo effect (Levett 2008). If one decides to go for the placebo effect, they may miss benefiting from other treatment methods that are proven more effective (Koshi, Short 2007). Of course, there are similar problems in homeopathic treatment since homeopathy has not been well understood so far. In this case, a health practitioner fails to be sure if the entire treatment process will work for the patient until the remedy is offered. Homeopathy tends to use the diluted infusions from the plants, minerals as well as from the animal sources that are aimed at stimulating a woman’s immune system as well as the body’s ability to create a cure for itself (Liddell 2005).

In other words, the remedies emitted by homeopathy are intended towards mimicking the entire symptoms of a condition. Several benefits come along with homeopathy application in patients suffering from endometriosis. The benefits of homeopathy include enhanced levels of energy in a patient, holistic, and natural procedure towards the treatment of endometriosis, personalized diagnosis as well as treatment and stimulation of a patient`s immune system.

Moreover, a consultation with qualified homeopaths involves an assessment of a woman’s endometriosis symptoms while at the same time deciding on the right treatment remedy for the patient. The practitioner is likely to identify a patient’s constitutional type that comprises a person’s physical as well as emotional and psychological profiles (Nardi 2011). Moreover, various factors such as personality, medical history as well as symptoms are taken into consideration. Therefore, more data that a homeopath collects, the higher the chances that the course of treatment adopted will be successful.

The homeopathic treatment procedures are meant to alleviate pain and cramping accompanying endometriosis and the hormonal imbalance. There are various remedies used in homeopathy for endometriosis treatment (Kingsberg and Janta 2007). They include Arnica Montana or bruising, cimicifuga or menstrual pain, colocynthis known as cramping, sepia known as a hormonal imbalance among other remedies. In other words, there are contrasting ideas about the homeopathy treatment approach for alleviating symptoms of endometriosis hence there is a need to carry out research on the process (Blaustein & Kumar 2002).

Methodology

The research will be aimed at determining whether the symptoms of patients diagnosed with endometriosis changed after undergoing treatment. The women`s age will range from 25 to 40 years. They will be randomly selected from the entire population such that all of them represent the interests of the others. For a fast and effective study, 75 women will take part in the research (Saunders 2007). These women will undergo homeopathy treatment as well as other treatment methods such as surgical treatment or non-surgical treatments.

In this case, the list of women will be taken from a hospital database and they will be invited to a meeting to create awareness on endometriosis but the main objective of the meeting will be to assess their health condition after various diagnostic procedures. Women will be asked different questions to determine the symptoms of their conditions as well as the severity of the disease (Uma & Jaloni 2011). The women will have a clear record of medication from the hospital either through homeopathy or through any other method of treatment such as a placebo effect (Sutton, Pooley and Ewen 1997).

Moreover, their symptoms will be determined (for the period of the last four months) in order to evaluate any variations in endometriosis symptoms. They will be asked to give information regarding any improvements or diminishing levels of their health conditions. This will be important in order to determine the effect that a particular type of treatment has on women suffering from endometriosis.

This will move alongside the treatment area in that they will have to indicate the form of treatment they received from the Royal London Hospital as a remedy or a method of alleviating their endometriosis symptoms. A general health practitioner will be available to carry out the analysis of the symptoms in order to determine those that are caused by endometriosis conditions and those caused by other health conditions such as anemia, physical injuries, or diabetes.

The women should also provide a history of the cases when they gave birth to children indicating whether they wished to have children after the treatment and whether it proved possible or impossible. The language used in the questionnaires will be English that is conversant to all participants (Brayan & Cramer 2005). Moreover, questions will be asked orally in English as it is considered to be known by all participants. The women will indicate how they felt after being diagnosed with endometriosis using various treatment methods in order to determine the effectiveness of the method. More women will be chosen from those treated using homeopathy treatment methods alongside those using other methods. Pregnant or breast-feeding women will be excluded from the study (Sutton, Pooley, and Ewen 1997).

Most importantly, all women who take part in the research should have regular cycles of 25 to 40 days as well as moderate to severe pelvic pains. This will be determined through a review of the scores on the hospital’s data scale (Jack & Raturi 2006). The study has to be approved by the general health practitioner. The study would involve a single health center; it will be randomized, placebo-controlled; 75 women that have been diagnosed with endometriosis will take part in double-blind research. In this sample, 25 women will receive the placebo treatment, 20 women will receive any other type of treatment and the rest (30 women) will receive the homeopathy treatment.

The period of study is 40 weeks: a pre-treatment evaluation - 4 weeks, a treatment period - 12 weeks that will be followed by a follow-up analysis - 24 weeks. The participants have to visit the hospital for 4 weeks before the start of the treatment. During each visit or during follow-up time, safety will be maintained and monitored using the standard blood tests; breast examination as well as vital signs will be recorded (Kothari 2009). The health practitioner will have to review the adverse events during the research (Sutton, Pooley, and Ewen 1997).

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For an effective study as well as independent conclusions, all investigators, research nurses, as well as patients, will be blinded for the entire study period. Randomization will be performed through consecutive envelopes that will be sealed and opened by the pharmacist after having prepared for treatment. The randomization code will only be broken or accessed immediately after the entire database has been locked. For the surgical procedures of the patients, the follow-up should be done 4 to 9 weeks after the surgical procedures and the final visit (in order to assess the safety) will be carried out between the 26th and 29th weeks of the research study (Balakrishnan 2004).

In order to avoid failure related to compliance by the patients during the follow-up, they will be informed of the objectives of the study and the benefits that will emerge from the treatments. They will be also informed that the information that they will provide during the interviews or in the questionnaires will remain confidential. This is prior to the knowledge that some women may fail to comply with the entire follow-up process that will be of much help to draw conclusions from the research (Slon 2006). All the participants of the research will be encouraged to be available during the process in order for the study not to lag behind the schedule and to guarantee that all work is completed within the stipulated time (Sutton, Pooley, and Ewen 1997).

After the data collection, it will be analyzed by the practitioners, passed over to the management of the hospital for approval, and later discharged back to the research team that will further draw the conclusions and proceeds with writing a report regarding the outcomes. Throughout the study, it will be important to bear in mind that the main objective is to determine the effects of homeopathy treatment in women who suffer from endometriosis (Hersoff 2000).

This will be done alongside other treatment methods in order to measure the effectiveness of each treatment. As mentioned earlier in this paper, the research is mostly due to many arguments revolving amongst health practitioners that homeopathy is effective while others tend to argue that it is ineffective. This paper is very important in order to determine the real effects of homeopathy treatment in endometriosis patients (Skinner 2001).

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