Polycystic ovary syndrome, PCOS and Acupuncture.

Acupuncture PCOSThe cause of polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS has not yet been agreed upon by scientists. And now there is  another possible scenario of pathogenesis, which looks very viable.

Apart from the well-known insulin resistance and hormone imbalance, there is one more process happening in the PCOS women’s bodies. The name of it is high sympathetic nerve activity, which, studies show, is present with PCOS patients.

Sympathetic nervous system innervates and regulates almost all of the internal organs, including hormone glands. It also innervates ovaries.

The interesting bit is that scientists believe, that sympathetic hyperactivity could develop before the hormone imbalance, and therefore be the root cause of PCOS.

The reason this is on my blog is that acupuncture has been researched to normalise the sympathetic nervous system. It can restore regular ovulation especially in patients with less androgenic hormonal profile and a less pronounced metabolic disturbance.

If you need help with PCOS, seek an acupuncturist with in depth knowledge of these studies and good understanding of electro-acupuncture. If the wrong frequency of stimulation is administered, it can cause further activation of sympathetic nervous system, which would be harmful to PCOS patients.

Note that sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous system dysfunction can also explain pathophysiology of other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.


In a study published in the current issue of International Journal of Obesity, researchers found acupuncture was effective and significantly reduced body weight in obese patients. The researchers compared acupuncture to placebo or sham treatments. Acupuncture also showed more improved outcomes than conventional medication.

My comment:

Maintaining optimal weight for otherwise healthy people has numerous health benefits. This study shows acupuncture to be helpful as a treatment for weight loss and more studies are needed. This study focused on obese patients.

You should not see acupuncture as a replacement for a healthy eating habits and exercise.

Acupuncture helps to decrease anxiety, stress, regulate appetite. It helps to relieve depression and increase motivation (including motivation to exercise).  Acupuncture improves quality of sleep. This will help to restore healthy lifestyle, which will benefit weight loss.

In my clinic I see numerous fertility patients suffering from PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). Acupuncture can help these patients to reduce sympathetic nervous activity and restore regular ovulation. Maintaining body mass index between 20 and 25 is another way to alleviate symptoms of PCOS. This study also suggests that there may be more than one way acupuncture is helpful for PCOS patients.

A group of scientists from GuangZhou, China compared application of acupuncture for PCOS (Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome) with medicinal treatment. After treating 60 woman with acupuncture and another 61 with medication, the scientists found that acupuncture group and medication group both showed an improvement in hormone levels, ovulation and other. However after six cycles past the treatment, the hormone levels of women who underwent the conventional treatment returned to their pre-treatment levels, while the acupuncture group continued to show improved results. Furthermore, the pregnancy rate in the acupuncture group was significantly higher.
The researchers concluded that acupuncture therapy has obvious effect on PCOS and the therapeutic effect is long-term.

Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2007 Feb;27(2):99-102.

Japanese doctors use Chinese herbal medicine to treat infertility

Dr. Takahisa Ushiroyama and colleagues at Osaka Medical College in Japan conducted a trial of treating polycystic ovary syndrome and non-polycystic ovary syndrome with herbal medicine. The medicine is Unkei-to (Chinese name Wen-Jing-Tang), which combines 12 herbal drugs, including ginseng, cinnamon bark, angelica root, evodia fruit and ginger stem. One hundred women participated in the experiment. Fifty-two of these women were given a daily dosage of 7.5 gram Unkei-to while the other women remained untreated. The study shows that more than half of the women treated with Unkei-to saw improvement in their menstrual cycle and successful ovulation. It is further discovered that the treatment can reduce the levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), a symptom characteristic of polycystic ovary syndrome. Still, the mechanism of the treatment remains unclear.

More on PCOS and acupuncture

IVF and acupuncture :: vitalis.co.nz