An increasing number of women are turning to acupuncture for treatment of a common gynecological disorder called polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS. PCOS is a complex hormonal imbalance that causes cystic inflammation on the ovaries and reproductive tissue. The cause of the hormonal disruption has been linked to many factors including genetics, birth control pills, environmental toxins such as plastics and air borne compounds, stress, early puberty, and artificial additives in food and drink. It may be linked to auto-immune disorders which can cause inflammation that develops as swelling and cysts on the ovaries. Symptoms of PCOS include menstrual pain, irregular periods or lack of menstruation (amenorrhea), abdominal pain, infertility, acne, excessive hair growth and irritability and depression.
Recently, I began acupuncture treatment for a young woman named Kristina who complained of these symptoms. Kristina is 24 years old and has had a history of painful, irregular menstruation since the onset of puberty at age 12. Currently, she hadn’t had a menstrual cycle in over 2 years. Her gynecologist diagnosed her with PCOS and prescribed birth control pills which didn’t work. Kristina had a history of family stress marked by anxiety and depression. She was worried about getting off the birth control medication because it controlled her acne but she felt it wasn’t working and she wanted to try natural therapies like acupuncture and herbal medicine. Kristina had already begun the essential work of cleaning her diet so she ate only natural foods and had eliminated most sugars and yeast products. Kristina was concerned about her reproductive health and future fertility prospects.
Acupuncture requires an individualized diagnosis and treatment plan to ensure best results. My reading of Kristina’s pulse and observation of her tongue, as well as abdominal palpation and an extensive history led me to a diagnosis of Yin, or female energy, deficiency and obstruction of Liver Qi and Blood. This created stagnation and backup of cold and damp in Kristina’s reproductive organs and meridians which caused the growth of ovarian cysts and hormonal disruption. Kristina began receiving acupuncture twice weekly and I gave her a combination of the Chinese herbal formulas Xiao Yao San and Da Bu Yin Wan to nourish the Yin, relieve stagnation and balance hormonal output. I also recommended she eliminate caffeine and reduce dairy intake to plain low-fat yogurt. After 4 weeks of regular treatment Kristina got her period for the first time in two years. It was somewhat painful and I assured her that with continued treatment the menstrual cramps and breast discomfort would ease. She did have a temporary outbreak of facial acne but that too will diminish with subsequent cycles. Kristina is a great example of success and healing from polycystic ovary syndrome with acupuncture and Chinese herbs! We are proud to have helped her and other patients with PCOS and other treatable syndromes. Contact me or our team to learn more how we can help.