Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition where cysts form on your ovaries. Sufferers also tend to have high levels of male hormones (testosterone), difficulty ovulating, and other problems with metabolism. Many patients will suffer infertility, which drugs like clomiphene will fail to stimulate. This means they cannot fall pregnant naturally, and IVF will not work.
PCOS has become very common, affecting 5–10% of women in Australia of reproductive age (12–45). Polycystic ovaries were found in 20–25% of women in surveys in the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
If PCOS is left untreated it can cause additional health issues such as diabetes, heart attacks, high blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol. In addition, the absence of regular menstruation induced by progesterone withdrawal may lead to endometrial hyperplasia and uncontrolled bleeding as well as the risk of endometrial cancer. Sufferers are also 8 times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, are 3-5 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and have double the chance of contracting cervical and breast cancer.
Early diagnosis and treatment may reduce the risk of developing some of these ailments.
Below we discuss acupuncture for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and how treatment can change your life.
How does Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affect fertility?
If you have PCOS, it means that your ovaries don’t make all of the hormones needed for an egg to fully mature. The follicles may start to grow and build up fluid, but ovulation doesn’t happen. Instead, some follicles may remain as cysts. For these reasons, the hormone progesterone is not made. Without progesterone, a woman’s menstrual cycle is irregular or absent. Additionally, the ovaries make male hormones, which also prevent ovulation.
PCOS effectively results in no ovulation (amenorrhea) or irregular ovulation (oligomenorrhea), which in turn results in no or few menstrual periods. This can significantly decrease your chances of falling pregnant, and may inhibit your lifestyle on a daily basis.
What are the symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?
Common symptoms of PCOS include:
- absent, infrequent and/or irregular menstrual cycles
- sore breasts
- mood swings
increased acne and oily skin
- dandruff and increased hair growth
- weight gain (usually with extra weight around the waist area)
- pelvic pain
- cysts on ovaries
- skin tags (especially in the armpits and/or neck area)
- baldness or thinning hair
- sleep apnea
- anxiety and depression.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) from an Eastern Perspective
The expert teacher we follow, YU-Jin, combines Western laboratory tests with Eastern medical doctrines to develop a treatment protocol especially for PCOS sufferers.
There are two major patterns: the first says PCOS is as a result of high testosterone levels, which in Chinese medicine correlates with Yang deficiency and excess phlegm; the other involves high testosterone with insulin resistance—a pattern traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) connects with Yin deficiency—causing internal heat and accumulation of phlegm.
How do Western doctors treat Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?
Doctors will give pills to regulate your period or prescribe progesterone to increase the levels of it in your body. Stopping the intake of synthetic progesterone will trigger the shedding of the uterus lining. Often this shedding results in very heavy bleeding, which can be a physically draining experience for women. It’s important to clarify that this period does not cure the PCOS problem. By ingesting progesterone, it does not mean that you will begin to experience regular periods or that the uterus lining will no longer build up in future cycles.
Synthetic progesterone isn’t a cure—it’s a treatment to manage PCOS signs and symptoms. This means that the root of the problem remains, and only the outer manifestations of the condition are masked. As soon as you stop taking the medication the symptoms all come back. The hormone treatments not only slow down the body’s natural hormones, but also suppress the ovary function.
What’s the best treatment for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?
A combination of Western and TCM treatments is the best way to regulate menstruation and increase the chances of falling pregnant.
The best treatment for PCOS is to regulate the whole system to achieve results. The aim should not be to seek hormone treatments—which have promising short-term results, but may cause you to sacrifice your ovary function or damage your body—as this will inhibit your sex life and lead to infertility.
Our Treatment Plan for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
At AcuNatural Health, we have developed a unique treatment protocol in the clinic, which is:
- tailored for each individual patient
- focused on you, not your disease
- to promote ovulation and stimulate the nerve system to secrete and regulate neurotransmitters (such as endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and melatonin) to make you more relaxed.
- about advising you and supporting you in making lifestyle changes.
How to positively affect your health now
- Have realistic expectations. Don’t be too stressed, as stress will trigger hormone secretions and inhibit ovarian function.
- Make sure you sleep for 8 hours to prevent high blood sugar levels, and to balance sympathetic nerves and the vagus nerve.
- Eat more fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as fibre-based carbohydrates. Ingest more seafood and less meat where possible.
- Exercise 30 minutes a day—aerobic.
This will allow the body’s metabolism to regain balance.
Our results: treating PCOS with acupuncture
Here at AcuNatural Health clinic Brisbane, we believe that with a balanced diet, and a series of treatments that use traditional medicine techniques, herbal teas and acupuncture, PCOS and its relating issues can be cured.
Results for PCOS can be achieved if you take Chinese herbs for 3 menstruation cycles accompanied by acupuncture to promote ovulation.
- 92% of women will ovulate with my treatments
- 76% will be fertile
- 75% of patients will show improvement, and blood tests will register lower testosterone levels.
My treatments should lower the ratio of T/E, E1/E2.
How can acupuncture and TCM help me fall pregnant?
For patients who are trying to conceive—on top of treatment protocols, acupuncture will be emphasised.
Acupuncture will further promote ovulation and support IVF or ART patients to reduce the side effect of drugs necessary for IVF. Also, acupuncture and TCM is used to protect the ovaries in a bid to support and sustain the pregnancy.
What if I’m not looking to fall pregnant?
For young patients or patients whose fertility is not their main concern, Chinese herbs and acupuncture can regulate the nervous system. This helps reduce your stress and regulate your endocrine hormones to promote ovulation. This will result in a normal menstruation cycle and a holistically adjusted metabolic profile.
For patients who have children or are pre-menopausal, the treatment will focus on regulating ovarian function and improving the metabolism of the neuroendocrine system.
Recent scientific research into acupuncture for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Johansson, J., Redman, L., Veldhuis,P. Sazonova, A., Labrie, F., Holm, G., Johannsson, G. and Stener-Victorin. Acupuncture for Ovulation Induction in PCOS: A RCT. AM J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 2013. 304: E934-E943, 2013.
- The aim of the study was to investigate whether acupuncture affects ovulation frequency and to understand the underlying mechanisms.
- Conclusion: Authors conclude that repeated acupuncture treatments resulted in significantly higher ovulation frequency in lean/overweight women with PCOS.
Lim, Danforn. Acupuncture treatment for menstrual disorder in women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrom (PCOS): UNSW Australian Medicine 2010.
- The aim of the study was to measure the effectiveness and role of different moralities of acupuncture treatment in the clinical management of PCOS.
- Conclusion: Study found that 89.79% of participants in the study had menstruation and hormonal balance return. It was found that 6 acupuncture treatments had a significant difference pre- and post-acupuncture treatment. The menstruation days decreased significantly from 297.69 days before treatment to normal menstruation of 33.82 days after treatment.
PCOS and infertility case study
Here is a PCOS and infertility case study of a patient of ours at AcuNatural Health, and how acupuncture helped them. click here.