Chinese Traditional Medicines and Acupuncture for PCOS

Kathy Feng R.TCMP, R.Ac, BScPhm

Kathy Feng R.TCMP, R.Ac, BScPhm

Clinic owner, Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner, Registered Acupuncturist in Toronto

PCOS affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age. Women with PCOS have a hormonal imbalance and metabolism problems that may affect their overall health and appearance. PCOS is also a common and treatable cause of infertility.

  • Irregular periods. Infrequent, irregular or prolonged menstrual cycles are the most common sign of PCOS. 
  • Excess androgen. Elevated levels of male hormone may result in physical signs, such as excess facial and body hair (hirsutism), and occasionally severe acne and male-pattern baldness.
  • Polycystic ovaries. Your ovaries might be enlarged and contain follicles that surround the eggs. 

The exact cause of PCOS isn’t known. Factors that might play a role include:

  • Excess insulin. If your cells become resistant to the action of insulin, then your blood sugar levels can rise and your body might produce more insulin. Excess insulin might increase androgen production, causing difficulty with ovulation.
  • Low-grade inflammation. Research has shown that women with PCOS have a type of low-grade inflammation that stimulates polycystic ovaries to produce androgens.
  • Heredity. Research suggests that certain genes might be linked to PCOS.
  • Excess androgen. The ovaries produce abnormally high levels of androgen, resulting in hirsutism and acne. “

Summary of PCOS from Kathy:

No matter what are the original causes of PCOS, the direct cause is relatively high levels of androgens. 

Interestingly, Chinese medicine etiology can perfectly match what western medicine says, let go through the above causes with Chinese theory one by one:

Excess insulin

  • 1. Sugar-triggered extra insulin in Chinese medicine means: Too much sweet food (in Chinese medicine has Yin-negative/cool nature), triggers your body to generate more Yang-positive/warm nature hormone, like insulin, androgen, and sometimes adrenaline to balance the sweet food. Long-term exposure with these positive/stimulated hormones, makes females masculinization. That is why I usually recommend patients have light food to eat and avoid sweet, greasy and spicy food for most of the time. The most priority in this case should be clear excessive heat and changing to a good diet. 
  • 2. For another situation, even patients who do not take greasy food, they may have weakened Spleen. The Spleen in Chinese medicine takes charge of digestion and absorption. If the Spleen energy flow is not enough, more and more undigested food will be accumulated in your body, as Yin-negative nature waste. Your body will be equipped with insulin and other positive hormone in any way to fight with the waste, in order to self balance Yin and Yang. The most priority in this case should be to strengthen the Spleen. 

Low-grade inflammation:

 It is astonishing that more and more diseases are found to be associated with inflammation and infection originally. The reason in western medicine is not clear. But in Chinese medicine, we have six levels of infection/inflammation and specific symptoms in each level. 

    •  1. If the inflammation happens in the most exterior layer of your body, except PCOS symptoms, you also will have others like, headache, irregular sweating, afraid of cold/wind, running nose, etc. 
    • 2. If the inflammation happens in half exterior and half interior level, other symptoms like bitter taste, acid reflux, bloating, anxiety, accompanied with PCOS.
    • 3. If the inflammation happens at interior level, there will be two extreme symptoms, one is extreme heat feeling including dry stool, constipation, thirsty, heavy sweating; While the other is cold sensation including diarrhea, no desire to drink, cold limbs, very low appetite. 


Genetic problems mostly involve kidney deficiency in Chinese medicine. There are two aspects:

    • 1. Kidney Yin Deficiency: If Yin is deficient, Yang will be relatively high. The relatively high Yang in your body is contributed by androgen for PCOS patients. The case is also not an excessive symptom, be careful of your alternative treatment. 
    • 2. Kidney Yang Deficiency: If Yang is not enough innately, cold is prone to accumulate in certain parts of your body. In PCOS cases, most of the cold stays in the ovary. In our theory, cold has the condensing nature, which is the most powerful ability of generating tumors. When the polycystic ovary happens, this structure can produce androgen which usually makes PCOS even worse. 

Leave this job to your Chinese medicine doctors, make sure to have one very skilled on Pulse diagnosis, because among all the diagnosis methods, pulse is the most accurate one. 

If you have future question, please contact our clinic for free:

Qi Herbs & Acupuncture Treatment Centre in Downtown Toronto. I am Kathy

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