PCOS and Infertility

Acupuncture for PCOS

Traditional Chinese Medicine—both acupuncture and herbs—offers natural and effective treatment for PCOS.

You are not alone. It is estimated that 10% of all women suffer from some form of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Up to 30% of all women have symptoms of the condition. PCOS is diagnostically a blanket term to describe the condition of infertility related to irregularity or difficulty with ovulation.

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Traditional Chinese Medicine, both acupuncture and herbs, can get to the root of PCOS, and help a woman restore her health naturally. Acupuncture treats PCOS by restoring balance to a woman’s nervous system and endocrine system. Treatment can: stabilize hormonal cycles, balance endocrine function, regulate periods, stabilize emotions, support regular sleep patterns, and reduce stress. Acupuncture will also send blood and nutrients to the pelvic cavity, helping restore optimal health to the reproductive organs. Acupuncture and herbs have also been effective in removing the telltale waxy coating on PCOS patients’ ovaries, thereby restoring ovarian health. All this is done naturally—without introducing more drugs or hormones into a woman’s body.

Researchers speculate that women develop PCOS because of an inherited predisposition for the disease, or because of problems associated with a diet consisting of foods high in fat, high in sugar, and highly-processed. PCOS is one of the foremost causes of infertility in women of childbearing age. If a woman suffers from PCOS, it is important for her to understand the condition and know her treatment options.

The symptoms of PCOS are varied. The most common problems associated with the disease is a disrupted menstrual cycle. Women with PCOS often complain of irregular periods, or long periods accompanied by painful cramps. Other markers for PCOS are hirsutism (unusual amounts of hair growth), acne, pelvic pain, weight gain, low pregnancy rate, and high miscarriage rate. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is also related to blood sugar problems, high cholesterol, high blood fat, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. Because of these related problems, PCOS is a disorder that can drastically affect a woman’s long-term health, and treatment options should not be ignored.

Insulin-related PCOS

Traditionally, PCOS is a reproductive disorder related to insulin resistance. When a woman has high blood insulin levels, her hormonal balance becomes disrupted, and she produces too much testosterone. When this happens, ovaries are exposed to an unusually high level of androgens (male sex hormones)—particularly testosterone—and do not function normally within the hormonal reproductive cycle. When a woman suffers from PCOS, normal ovulation doesn’t occur. Ovaries produce follicles, but the eggs don’t mature properly in the testosterone-rich environment, so a woman doesn’t ovulate. The stagnated follicles become cysts, and these cysts secrete more androgens. The disorder then becomes a cycle that feeds on itself.

There are several treatment options for PCOS—both in the worlds of Western and Eastern medicine. Western medicine treats PCOS with a regimen of drugs. Usually a doctor will prescribe medicine to address issues of hormonal disruption, and, on occasion, issues of insulin resistance. These drugs, like clomid, hCG and gonadotrophins, can restore a regular menstrual cycle.

Hormone drug-treatments may, indeed, help restore ovulation, however, they do not treat the root cause of the hormonal imbalance. Ovaries will still be subject to high levels of androgens, possibly resulting in lower quality eggs, and a less-than-optimal fetal environment. As a result, fertility issues and miscarriage may still occur.

The second major concern with these drugs and any birth control drugs is the long-term effect on the body. While the pill may initially seem to help with PCOS, it may worsen the condition after a few years. Birth control pills can make the body more insulin-resistant, which is the root reason a woman experiences elevated testosterone levels in the first place.

If a woman suffers from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, there are also steps she can take on her own to reclaim better health. Women experiencing PCOS should avoid sugars and simple carbs to help cope with problems of insulin resistance. Small meals will also assist the body in maintaining normal insulin levels, and eating small amounts of protein at each meal with help level blood sugar. Patients may also want to avoid processed foods because the chemicals found in these foods can disrupt an already sensitive body chemistry. Smoking and alcohol consumption should be kept to a minimum. Cold food and drinks should be avoided because they slow a woman’s metabolism, and PCOS patients already suffer from low metabolic function. Women who have PCOS should try to eat lots of vegetables, and make sure they have essential fatty acids in their diet; essential fatty acids have a regulatory effect on hormone levels. Finally, PCOS patients should make sure they get plenty of rest, and manage stress for optimum health.