Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is caused by an imbalance of female and male sex hormones. This imbalance can cause follicles within the ovaries to produce immature eggs. Instead of being released in the normal course, those immature eggs can form small cysts in the ovary. The body’s resistance to insulin is thought to be a factor in some cases.
Women with PCOS do not ovulate regularly and can experience symptoms such as irregular menstrual periods, excessive hair growth, acne and weight gain.
Western medical doctors sometimes prescribe hormones, or a diabetes drug (metformin). After extensive testing, a common Chinese herbal formula (Tiangui Fang), used to treat PCOS, has been shown to produce similar results to Metformin. Tiangui Fang, and other custom prescribed formulas have fewer side effects than most Western medicine.
Seventy percent of women who take fertility drugs such as clomiphene or follicle-stimulating hormones ovulate. Of those that ovulate, half go on to conceive within 6-9 months. Unfortunately, one in five of those pregnancies miscarry.
Acupuncture and/or herbal treatment helps to regulate hormones and the cycle, reduce inflammation and scarring, and promote healing. TCM has also shown in many clinical studies to restore regular menstruation, relieve symptoms, and induce ovulation in PCOS patients.
There is a growing body of research demonstrating the positive effects of acupuncture on PCOS.
A recent study, undertaken by an international team of researchers, will help to further our knowledge in the area of PCOS and acupuncture treatment. The above link contains the study design and objectives and detailed information respecting PCOS, its prevalence and methods of treatment.