What is polycystic ovarian syndrome? Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, more commonly known as (PCOS) is one of the most common endocrine disorders; and ten percent of women of childbearing age are affected by this condition. It is actually not a disease but a condition and it can affect any woman before she hits menopause. But, unfortunately, it remains undiagnosed as the symptoms often overlap with symptoms of other conditions.
What is PCOS and What Happens when you Have PCOS?
In this condition, your ovaries create an abundance of follicles each month without producing an egg, disrupting the ovulation cycle. This disruption is the leading cause of infertility among women. Women suffering from this condition sometimes may skip their periods and sometimes start bleeding heavily for days. There are other symptoms of PCOS such as acne and high blood pressure. It may also cause elevated androgen hormones levels that includes testosterone, leading to unwanted hair growth on your face and body. Women start developing ovarian cysts and their metabolism gets severely affected and the number on the scale keeps creeping up.
PCOS is sometimes a temporary condition and affects young girls who go through puberty as their ovaries try to balance a regular menstrual pattern. PCOS may also affect women undergoing perimenopause (when a woman experiences less frequent menstrual cycles as she gradually inches towards menopause)
PCOS is such a multi-factorial condition and it induces a high muscle sympathetic nerve activity. This condition narrows the body’s blood vessels, hurtling the woman towards conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. These two conditions are the leading contributors towards stroke and heart disease.
While PCOS treatment involves taking medications to get relief from some of the conditions. Many women with PCOS have resorted to taking a variety of medications to ease their symptoms. While these are effective to a certain extent, it also comes with several side effects such as fatigue, malaise, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. This can prove to be rather annoying.
When conventional treatment fails, women seek relief from alternative medicine. In fact, Acupuncture for PCOS is a holistic method of treating a woman with PCOS. This treatment helps regulate and manage the symptoms to a large extent. Acupuncture is said to have a positive outlook and impacts your body in a number of ways.
What is Acupuncture?
Wikipedia states, “Acupuncture is a collection of procedures which involves the stimulation of points on the body using a variety of techniques, such as penetrating the skin with needles that are then manipulated manually or by electrical stimulation.”
It is a traditional Chinese medicine and is based on fighting any illness or pain which results as a blockage in the flow of vital energy, popularly known as “qi”. Acupuncturists utilize needles, inserting into specific acupuncture points. This helps to focus on unblocking the flow of qi and bring back balance to the body.
Acupuncture and PCOS – Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Treatment
When you treat PCOS with acupuncture, you place needles along the acupuncture meridians. These meridians are inextricably linked to the reproductive system. This helps in a number of ways such as improving the health of the organs, improving blood flow, helping in balancing out hormone-levels and helping in balancing out the reproductive system.
Swedish researchers at the University of Gothenburg did a study and found out that exercise in conjunction with electro-acupuncture treatments can help reduce the symptoms of PCOS. This polycystic ovary syndrome treatment also treats the condition minus the side effects. In Acupuncture, the needles are inserted in the abdomen and leg. The needles activate a low-frequency electrical charge and it does not cause any pain or discomfort. The electro-acupuncture treatments help regularize the menstrual cycles, reduces the testosterone levels and the most important of all, reduce the waist circumference (not necessarily reduce the body mass index or weight).
Before, you start with any treatment options, you must consult with your doctor and then go ahead with the treatment.
Which type of Acupuncture Helps in the treatment of PCOS?
It is said that electro-acupuncture, one of the more popular acupuncture techniques, is more effective in treating PCOS. This treatment involves passing a small electric current through the needle into the muscle. Usually, two needles are used to form a setup. It forms a continuous pulsating current and is applied for 30 minutes. You can stimulate two needles at one and the same time.
How Does it Help PCOS?
Can you manage PCOS naturally? Yes, you can include acupuncture, herbs, and dietary adjustments to help manage PCOS. When it comes to overweight patients, just a 5-10% reduction in weight can regulate your cycles. Follow the below-mentioned lifestyle changes to manage your condition better.
- Cut out sugar in all its forms from your diet.
- Cut out refined carbohydrates from your diet as the body turns the refined carbs into When we speak of refined carbs, we mean pasta, white bread, potatoes, rice cakes, white rice, most breakfast cereals, popcorn, or starchy, low fiber food.
- Avoid processed foods and junk such as soda, fruit juice, and any drink which raises your blood sugar level.
- Consume more protein, more of plant-based
- Your go-to foods should be fresh veggies.
- Eat fruits which are not too sweet.
- Eat complex whole grains.
- Avoid milk and dairy products which aggravate the condition of internal dampness.
- Reduce or better still, eliminate alcohol and caffeine.
- Increase your fiber intake.
- Move more, ensure that exercise becomes a part of your daily schedule.
Traditional Chinese Medicine PCOD Diagnosis and Treatment
Your practitioner has to consider several factors while diagnosing you, such as do you suffer from a Kidney imbalance? Kidneys help control the organ of reproduction. This causes an imbalance of Qi, Yin, Yang, Jing, or a combination. Another, thing to take into consideration is damp and Phlegm accumulation (as you notice in the physical cysts). When there is a stagnation of Qi and blood, it causes painful menstruation or PMS type symptoms. If there is a spleen deficiency it can lead to weight gain.
Acupuncture helps in a number of ways such as restoring hormonal balance, decreasing LH levels, increasing FSH, decreasing Testosterone, decreasing Estrogen levels and increasing Progesterone. It also helps reduce excess weight, shrink ovarian cysts, and benefits ovulation and egg implantation.
Acupuncture Treatment for PCOS
This is how acupuncture can treat PCOS,
- Balancing beta-endorphin production, which may impact the gonadotropin-releasing hormone secretion.
- Regulating the luteinizing hormone, and androgen levels.
- Modulates the sympathetic nervous system activity and helps improve blood flow to the ovaries.
- Helps regulate the steroid hormone/peptide receptors.
- Helps reduce the serum levels of estradiol and testosterone.
- Increases Insulin sensitivity and reduces the insulin levels.
- Stimulates the pain receptors in the brain.
- Reduces inflammation.
How Does Acupuncture Impact the Hormone Channels? – Acupuncture Points for PCOS
Acupuncture is a holistic treatment that helps in hormone regulation; it caters to the root of the issue and does not focus only on symptomatic treatment. Acupuncture helps bring balance in the body through qi (chi), a person’s life force. Practitioners help insert specific points along the interconnecting meridians (channels) of the body that are linked to several organs. If an acupuncturist utilizes an acupuncture point, say for example a stomach one, it doesn’t correlate to the physical stomach, it just runs along the channel. A few of the common hormone channels are as follows. Find out some of the important Acupuncture points for PCOS here.
Chinese theory accords this as the “source of life.” The Kidney point 10 is an effective point for balancing out your hormones. Location: When you flex your knees, you’ll find the point on the medial side of the popliteal fossa, right between the tendons of m. semitendinosus and semimembranosus.
Yin/yang pair that can help in balancing the gonadotropin-releasing hormones. The Gallbladder 34 point is a potent point to treat PCOS and its symptoms. It is located in an indentation anterior and inferior to the head of the fibula.
The Liver point 14 is another point that helps balance your hormones. It is located in the sixth intercostal space, right on the nipple line. It is located 4 cun lateral to the midline.
3. Ren/du channels:
These are not related to the organs in the body but are wonderful for balancing. The ren channel is also known as the conception vessel. The channel runs along right in the midline of the front of the body. The du channel, also known as the governing vessel, flows along the mid-point of the back of the body. According to “A Manual of Acupuncture” this channel mediates between the brain and the heart.
- The conception vessel 4 point is located on the midline, it is 3 cun inferior to the umbilicus.
- The conception vessel 17 is located in a depression on the midline, on the sternum, it is in level with the 4th intercostal space.
- The governing vessel 3 point lies on the midline of the lower back, in the indentation right underneath the spinous process of the fourth lumbar vertebra (L4).
Apart from acupuncture points for PCOS, there are methods used by an acupuncturist such as pulses, tongue readings, and herbs. Some common Chinese herbs specifically used for female hormone balance are as follows:
- Angelica Root
- Black Sesame Seeds
- American Ginseng
- Astragalus Root
- White Peony Root
- Goji Berries
Acupuncture treatment for PCOS is a holistic way of treating one of the most common conditions affecting a large number of women today. Making the right lifestyle changes together with acupuncture can impact your life in a number of positive ways. If you are suffering from PCOS, give acupuncture a try and see how it helps balance your hormonal levels.