Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine condition of reproductive-age women.
Women with PCOS have higher levels of androgens, or male sex hormones, that are normally present in smaller amounts. This hormone imbalance causes the body to skip menstrual periods and can make it harder to get pregnant. The name polycystic ovarian syndrome describes the numerous small cysts that form in the ovaries. However, some women with this disorder do not have cysts.
The diagnosis of PCOS can be overwhelming especially if you are trying to get pregnant.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
Missed periods, irregular periods, or very light periods
Weight gain, especially around the belly (abdomen)
Ovaries that are large or have many cysts
Excess body hair, including the chest, stomach, and back (hirsutism)
Acne or oily skin
Dark or thick skin patches on the back of the neck, in the armpits, and under the breasts
How can acupuncture and Chinese medicine treat PCOS?
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can treat the symptoms of PCOS, while also addressing underlying imbalances and inflammation in the body. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs aid to regulate the endocrine system and improve circulation to the reproductive organs, thus improving egg quality and promoting ovulation.
In Traditional East Asian Medicine, we assess the patient and put together a profile of the symptoms.
Then we see if that profile fits a specific pattern that East Asian medicine has already identified, or whether it is a mixture of more than one pattern. Once we have identified the pattern, we can create a treatment plan. This is important since no one person presents in the same way.
The 4 main patterns are:
Kidney Yang Deficiency: always feeling cold, low thyroid function, loose stools, low sex drive, pale tongue, frequent urination
Spleen Qi Deficiency with Dampness: bloating, loose stools, low thyroid function, anemia, brain fog, cold hands or feet, low energy, puffy tongue with tooth marks
Liver Qi Stagnation Transforming to Heat: headaches, constipation, IBS symptoms, depression, distention and pain in the breasts, irritability, tongue color red or slightly purple especially on the sides of the tongue
Kidney Yin Deficiency: insomnia, anxiety, thirst, low back pain, dry skin, short menstrual cycles, the tongue is thin, red, and dry
We treat the whole body, including our patients’ underlying factors and symptoms of PCOS.
Once we know which pattern or patterns apply we know which acupuncture points, herbal formulas, diet and lifestyle recommendations we might make. Since PCOS is such a complex syndrome, we do not subscribe to the idea that one size fits all. Rather we take our time to figure out a sustainable set of steps to support the body in coming back to balance.
Chinese herbal medicine can be very effective in the treatment of PCOS as well as lifestyle and dietary modifications. If you would like to know more about how acupuncture and herbs can be helpful for you, give us a call for a free 15-min consultation!