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Polycystic ovary syndrome affects 5-10% of women within the child bearing bracket in the USA. This percentage implies that stateside, at least 5 million people suffer from PCOS. This disorder has far-reaching effects (on the extreme end being infertility) on the general and reproductive health of a woman, especially if it goes untreated for a long time. 50% of PCOS patients also develop diabetes before they hit 40. Unfortunately, 50% of the females affected are never diagnosed, which means that millions of patients out there suffer in silence and don’t even know what the cause of their problems is.

Definition and epidemiology

PCOS is a set of symptoms caused by an imbalance in the hormones responsible for female reproduction. The disorder affects the ovaries, which are responsible for releasing an egg each month. With PCOS, the ovaries create an abundance of follicles each month without producing an egg. This disruption in ovulation makes PCOS the most common cause of infertility among women. In fact, many women will often skip their period for months, then start bleeding heavily for days.

Symptoms of PCOS are as follows:

  • Acne develops on the upper back, chest and face – the regions affected range from one person to the next, so the area affected cannot in isolation be used as the basis for diagnosis.
  • Irregular menstruation-women suffering from PCOS may miss periods or experience less than 8 menstrual cycles in a year. For others, periods come sooner than 21 days each month. For some, the menstrual cycle screeches to a halt altogether.
  • Too much hair develops on areas of the body commonly associated with male secondary sex characteristics. This includes the face and chin. 70% of PCOS patients have this symptom
  • Some women gain a significant amount of weight or have a problem losing weight
  • Loss of hair in the scalp area, thinning of hair or even male pattern baldness may develop

Western medical remedies for PCOS

  1. Anti-Androgens – Anti-androgen medications are used to stifle the development of male sex characteristics such as growth of hair on the chin and face. They can also reduce or cure acne as well as male pattern baldness. Patients need to note that these drugs are not FDA-approved for their use on PCOS symptoms. They are also known to cause quite a few problems in pregnant women.
  2. Diabetes drugs – Diabetes drugs work toward regulating how insulin works in the patient’s body. In fact, recent studies have determined a link between PCOS and insulin resistance. Some drugs, like metformin, have the effect of reducing androgen levels, which helps get rid of facial hair and can actually trigger ovulation.
  3. Birth control – In this case, the birth control tools administered need to contain both estrogen and progesterone. If the right approaches are used, then the effect is a distinctive balance in both male and female hormones in the body. There is the reduction of acne and prevention of hair loss to start with, followed by the cessation of the growth of hair on the chin and in the face. Women who don’t want to conceive can benefit from the reduced risk of endometrial cancer and an increased sense of regularity to their menstrual flow.

The Good News ! Acupuncture for PCOS

Acupuncture and other Chinese herbal medicine have always been considered some of the safest approaches to the management and treatment of PCOS. Clinical research points to the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of PCOS.

In 2015, a literature trial was conducted on the existing research detailing the efficacy of acupuncture in helping PCOS patients. The trials covered were divided in terms of the effects they would have on the patient. Some targeted response in terms of regularity of menstrual flow while others looked at how the use of acupuncture in PCOS patients could help with fertility. Yet others looked at the effect of acupuncture on androgenic tendencies in patients. All but one of the 31 studies showed that acupuncture had indeed worked with significant results, as per this report.

A study published in the American Journal of Physiology –Endocrinology and Metabolism- indicates that acupuncture is responsible for balanced sex hormones in women. The study also suggests that women who take part in electro-acupuncture sessions tend to experience menstrual regularity over the course of a few months. This study also found evidence that acupuncture has a significant impact on ovulation.

At Boca Raton Acupuncture we have had wonderful results with patients dealing with PCOS and its associated symptoms. It is safe, effective and painless. Give us a call and schedule a free consultation today. Our acupuncture physicians would love to show you how Chinese Medicine can work for you!

 

Sources

  1. https://www.pacificcollege.edu/news/blog/2014/10/31/acupuncture-offers-relief-polycystic-ovarian-syndrome