Acupuncture and PCOS

Acupuncture and PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome affects up to 10% of women in reproductive age. Acupuncture combined with lifestyle changes offers hope to successfully address one of the possible root causes of the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Increased Sympathetic Activity – The Core Cause of PCOS?

What causes PCOS and why acupuncture is successful at naturally restoring ovulation and regulating cycles has puzzled specialists, endocrinologists and gynaecologists for decades. The “bible” on the treatment of infertility (Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility) says “The characteristic of polycystic ovary develops when a chronic anovulatory state persists for a sufficient length of time.”  But there are many causes for anovulation.

A recent study published in the Nature magazine could change how we see Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Swedish researchers, who conducted the study, discovered that the sympathetic nervous system is hyperactive in PCOS women. And most noteworthy, the sympathetic hyperactivity precedes anovulation. Hence this could potentially be the one simple underlying cause of this complex condition. This phenomenon could explain why acupuncture can reverse some of the harm done by the syndrome, including restoring regular ovulation, decreasing androgen levels, regulating ovarian blood flow and the function of HPG axis.

How acupuncture helps PCOS

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When done correctly, acupuncture can restore normal ovulation, decrease ovarian cysts and ovarian size in PCOS patients.

How Acupuncture Helps Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Studies documented Acupuncture to

  • increase blood flow to the ovaries
  • reduce of ovarian volume and the number of ovarian cysts
  • control hyperglycaemia through increasing insulin sensitivity and regulating blood glucose and insulin levels
  • reduce cortisol levels and assisting in weight loss and anorexia
  • reduce testosterone levels and regulating oestrogen cycles to normalise ovulation
  • reduce sympathetic nervous system drive
  • increase menstrual frequency by 38%
  • reduce the sympathetic nervous outflow

To fully understand the effect of acupuncture on PCOS we do need more research.

  1. The excess levels of “male hormones” – androgens. This is the central feature of PCOS. Female to male transexuals consume anrdogens to develop male features. This excess androgen levels can result in PCOS.
  2. Hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance – excess insulin levels in your blood increase the risk of PCOS. 25-50% of women with PCOS have no insulin resistance. Among women with insulin resistance, the incidence of PCOS is low. Nonetheless, these are the key factors and are cause of hyperandrogenism in some women.
  3. Increased sympathetic nervous activity. This may be the primary or causing factor of PCOS syndrome. Many of the features of PCOS, such as hyperinsulinaemia, central obesity, obstructive sleep apnoea are all associated with chronic sympathetic nervous system overactivity

Both increased androgens and hyperinsulinemia very likely are playing a role in causing PCOS. However, increased sympathetic activity may be preceding these changes.

Will acupuncture help you?

Whether you’re trying for a baby, or interested in addressing PCOS symptoms, contact us to discuss how we can help in your situation. If we don’t respond immediately, we may be busy with patients. But rest assured, we will get back to you as soon as we can!

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Acupuncture for PCOS is More Effective When Combined with Herbs

A systematic review published in June 2014 found combining herbs with acupuncture to be even more successful acupuncture alone.  They documented this combination of natural treatments helps women suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome by reducing:

  • luteinizing hormone/follicle-stimulating hormone
  • insulin resistance
  • testosterone
  • body mass index
  • luteinizing hormone/follicle-stimulating hormone
  • insulin resistance
  • testosterone
  • body mass index

Acupuncture and IVF

Acupuncture can play an important role when you’re trying to conceive with In Vitro Fertilisation. It has been shown to double the IVF success rates, reduce the risk of miscarriage in some studies.

Reproductive acupuncture success stories

Dr. Birdsall called our first baby “a miracle”

Book an appointment

We specialise in reproductive acupuncture since 1999. Book an appointment to discover how our expertise can help your situation.

Herbs for fertility

Herbs can help you conceive sooner. Discover why they work, and when you need them.

Book an appointment

We specialise in Fertility acupuncture since 1999. Book an appointment to discover how our expertise can help your situation.

Herbs for fertility

Herbs can help you conceive sooner. Discover why they work, and when you need them.