Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects between 8%-20% of reproductive-age women worldwide. It has numerous symptoms, many of which can seem unrelated, but health care providers will typically look for these common characteristics in a potential PCOS patient:
- Absence of ovulation
- Cysts on the ovaries
- Excess androgens
Health care providers look for several PCOS related symptoms in order to establish the diagnosis. Additional symptoms can include: irregular menstruation, infertility, excess hair growth, persistent acne, and/or stubborn weight gain, particularly around the stomach area. Unfortunately, while researchers understand there are genetic and environmental factors that contribute to the development of PCOS, they do not know the exact cause of PCOS. This makes it difficult to have a definitive diagnosis, as the diagnosis would be based on the manifestation of a group of symptoms as opposed to a legitimate test result.
With the causes of PCOS remaining unknown, patients are left to manage the symptoms of PCOS instead of addressing the root cause of the disorder. This leaves the patient to a lot of symptom chasing and frustration. Patients will often arrive at their acupuncturist’s office with a long list of complaints caused by PCOS with little to no help from their Western health care provider. The biggest complaints are irregular menstruation and anovulation (lack of ovulation), which causes infertility problems. This can be very distressing for women who are now trying to get pregnant and are having no success.
Luckily, acupuncture has demonstrated efficacy in treating not only the symptoms of PCOS, but also in treating the fertility problems that comes with the disorder. In a study published in the American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism in March 2013, results showed that consistent acupuncture treatments with manual and electrical stimulation in women with PCOS results in a higher ovulation frequency during the treatment period compared to women who didn’t receive acupuncture treatment. Levels of a variety of hormones, including estrone, estrone sulphate, estradiol, DHEA, and testosterone, were also found to have decreased significantly more in the women of the experimental group than in the control group.
Acupuncture has a profound effect on the central nervous system, and in turn on the endocrine system. Helping regulate hormones naturally helps regulate the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, which is vital to a well-functioning female reproductive system. Acupuncture has relatively no side effects, making it a safe intervention to regulate these hormones and promote adequate blood circulation in the female reproductive organs.
Anyone seeking help for PCOS fertility issues – or any other PCOS related concerns – should feel confident seeking out an acupuncturist to help with these issues. If you or anyone you know is looking for help with PCOS related issues, feel free to give us a call at 646-609-4250 or email us at [email protected] to learn more about the benefits of acupuncture or to book an appointment!