Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is one of the most common conditions that can prevent a woman from conceiving. PCOS is a complex condition that can look different for each woman. It is believed that PCOS has its root in disrupted blood sugar metabolism, or insulin resistance, leading to an imbalance of hormones within a woman’s body, causing an overabundance of ‘male’ hormones, like testosterone.
Symptoms can include irregular or absent periods, weight gain, acne, hair growth on the face, chest or back, and the formation of multiple cysts on the ovaries. The blood sugar and hormone imbalances, together with the ovarian cysts, can impede ovulation, disrupt menstrual cycles, and, frequently, cause infertility. Often, women with PCOS need extra support to conceive due to the condition preventing or impairing ovulation.
The question is: If you have PCOS, can acupuncture help?
PCOS and Acupuncture: Acupuncture can help relieve PCOS symptoms
Research suggests that consistent acupuncture treatments twice weekly, combined with regular exercise, can help reduce both the effects and the symptoms of PCOS. Acupuncture has been shown to lower testosterone levels, promote healthy ovulation, and, in turn, help periods occur more regularly. For many women, this can improve fertility and allow women with PCOS to conceive naturally. For women who require IVF due to more severe effects of PCOS, acupuncture treatments for 3 months prior to the cycle can improve IVF success.
A more recent analysis suggests that acupuncture can play a key role in the treatment of PCOS patients. Conventional treatment with medications is reported to be only 60% effective for PCOS, and involves side effects. Adding acupuncture to conventional treatments can improve results. This success is thought to be due to acupuncture’s ability to increase production of certain endorphins, which, in turn, can promote better hormonal balance and induce healthy ovulation.
However, while there are studies showing that acupuncture can reduce PCOS symptoms, they’re not enough to suggest that acupuncture can make the condition go away entirely. PCOS is a chronic, lifelong condition that can have health effects throughout a women’s life. Women with PCOS are more prone to diabetes and weight gain, and benefit from long-term guidance about diet, exercise and complementary treatments to minimize complications. Getting pregnant with PCOS can be challenging, and often requires additional support. Acupuncture consistently performs very well in studies related to improving fertility in PCOS patients, and can be an effective primary or adjunct treatment to help women with PCOS get pregnant with a healthy baby.
PCOS and Acupuncture: Fertility benefits of acupuncture for women with PCOS
If you’re a woman with PCOS, there are a number of benefits you receive from getting acupuncture for fertility. Acupuncture can regulate hormones to improve ovulation, making sure it happens consistently with healthy eggs.
Acupuncture can stimulate the release of certain hormones in your brain that can improve the blood flow to your reproductive organs. Increased blood circulation to your ovaries and uterus often leads to the improved egg quality. This can increase your probability of conceiving.
Additionally, acupuncture can help you relax and decrease your stress levels. Stress can interfere with your efforts to get pregnant because high levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline can reduce blood flow to your reproductive organs.
Acupuncture can’t reverse your PCOS. Even so, if you’re a woman with PCOS and trying to get pregnant, research suggest that there are multiple benefits you can get from acupuncture for fertility, and that your chances of conceiving will increase with acupuncture treatments.
At Portland Acupuncture Studio, we have 38 years’ combined experience successfully helping women with PCOS become pregnant with healthy babies. It is possible to be successful rather than frustrated. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you grow your family.