Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a complex endocrine and metabolic syndrome that affects 5% – 10% of women of reproductive age and is characterized by small ovarian cysts, irregular menstrual cycles, abnormal hair growth, acne, and metabolic problems leading to weight gain.
The cysts associated with PCOS cause various hormonal imbalances and in some cases increased male sex hormones. This imbalance disturbs ovulation and can lead to infertility.
Women who suffer from PCOS also have a higher risk of developing hypertension and diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
A combination of acupuncture and herbal formulations helps to regulate ovulation and the menstrual cycles.
A research study in Sweden demonstrated the benefits of electro-acupuncture to promote ovulation in women with PCOS.
In this study, electro-acupuncture was done regularly for four months. Patients were divided into 3 groups, 1 group did acupuncture, in the second group patients exercising three times in a week and third group was a control one where participants were given information on the importance of diet and exercise. The acupuncture group noted a lowered sympathetic nervous system response (which is associated with stress), lowered testosterone levels, in 38% ovulation resulted and their menstrual cycles became regular. This however was not effective in severe cases with very high testosterone levels and overweight patients.
PCOS patients tend to see improvement with incorporating the following guidelines on diet and supplements:
- Reduce carbohydrates and replace the unhealthy simple carbs with healthier whole grains.
- Cut back on refined & simple sugars, substituting with low glycemic index choices.
- Reduce animal fats and eat more fruits and vegetables. Replace your red meat with healthier options such as fish or chicken
- Supplements such as N acetyl cysteine (NAC) help balance the hormones and blood sugar. Additionally anti-oxidants such as Coenzyme Q 10 help to address the underlying inflammation associated with PCOS
- Stress management techniques such as meditation, acupuncture, yoga and counseling will help balance hormones and be a positive step towards managing your PCOS symptoms
- Weight loss for PCOS patients is associated with ovulation and menstrual regulation, however this is harder to do for PCOS patients due to underlying metabolic causes. Acupuncture and herbs can assist in this process.
- Making time for regular exercise is very important as it will help increase metabolism and lower stress too.