Chinese Traditional Medicines and Acupuncture for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

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

What are the symptoms of PCOS?

  • 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.


What are the causes of PCOS in TCM?

  • The exact causes of PCOS aren’t known, but plausible causes may 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.
    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 hormones, like insulin, androgen, and sometimes adrenaline to balance the sweet food. Long-term exposure with these positive/stimulated hormones, makes females masculinize. 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: Research has shown that women with PCOS have a type of low-grade inflammation that stimulates polycystic ovaries to produce androgens. It is astonishing that more and more diseases are found to be associated with inflammation and infection originally.
    1. If the inflammation happens in the most exterior layer of your body, besides PCOS symptoms, you also will have headaches, irregular sweating, fear of cold/wind, running nose, etc.
    2. If the inflammation happens in half exterior and half interior level, one may experience symptoms like bitter taste, acid reflux, bloating, anxiety, accompanied by PCOS symptoms.
    3. If the inflammation happens at the interior level, there will be two extreme symptoms: one is an extreme feeling of heat, accompanied by symptoms such as dry stool, constipation, thirst and heavy sweating. On the other hand, one may feel a cold sensation accompanied by symptoms such as diarrhea, no desire to drink, cold limbs, and a very low appetite.
  • Heredity: Research suggests that certain genes might be linked to PCOS. Genetic problems mostly involve Ying/Yang deficiencies in the kidney. In Chinese medicine, there are two aspects:
    1. Kidney Yin Deficiency: If the Yin is deficient, Yang will be relatively high. The relatively high Yang in your body is contributed by androgen for PCOS patients.
    2. Kidney Yang Deficiency: If the 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 Chinese medicine theory, cold has a 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.
  • Excess androgen: The ovaries produce abnormally high levels of androgen, resulting in hirsutism and acne.


How to know if you may have PCOS

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