Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is an extremely common endocrine disorder that affects as many as ten percent of women of childbearing age. Ovulation is disrupted, although follicles are produced. Missed periods and heavy bleeding are common. Hormonal disturbances are usual, which can produce elevated androgen hormone levels–including testosterone. In many patients this results in infertility, facial hair growth, acne, ovarian cysts and excessive weight gain.
PCOS can produce excessive high muscle sympathetic nerve activity. This ‘fight or flight’ response results in constriction of the body’s blood vessels which, over time, may increase the chances of developing diabetes and high blood pressure, and, eventually, more serious cardiovascular events.
Problems with Conventional Treatments
The cause is unknown and there is no conventional cure for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
PCOS is conventionally treated only at the level of its symptoms, such as acne treatments, lifestyle changes for obesity, prescription drugs for excessive hair growth, fertility medications, and diabetes medications. Each of these has inherent risks and side effects.
Treating PCOS with Acupuncture
In 2009, Swedish researchers at the University of Gothenburg were the first group to report on a study of acupuncture treatment of PCOS. The goal of the study was to see if this treatment protocol might help to positively stimulate the organs, improve blood flow, normalizes hormone levels and promote the proper functioning of the reproductive system. In a 16-week study of the nine women in the study group, the researchers found that the acupuncture treatments resulted in more regular menstrual cycles, reduced testosterone levels and reduced waist circumference.
In a 2013 National Institutes of Health (NIH) report on treatment of PCOS with acupuncture, they concluded that acupuncture treatments resulted in higher ovulation frequency in lean or overweight women, and positive changes in circulating levels of estrone, estrone sulfate, estradiol, dehydroepiandrosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, androstenedione, and testosterone, as well as inhibin B, anti-Müllerian hormone and serum cortisol, which can affect fertility.
As to risks and safety, acupuncture treatment of PCOS has none of the adverse side effects of conventional management of PCOS symptoms.
Acupuncture Offers Relief for PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome
By Alex A. Kecskes
American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, published by The American Physiological Society.
“For Women With Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Acupuncture And Exercise May Bring Relief, Reduce Risks.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 June 2009.
Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2013 May 1;304(9):E934-43. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00039.2013. Epub 2013 Mar 12.
Acupuncture for ovulation induction in polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial.
Johansson J1, Redman L, Veldhuis PP, Sazonova A, Labrie F, Holm G, Johannsson G, Stener-Victorin E.