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Acupuncture improves PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a term to describe multiple cysts/follicles on the ovaries. The European definition of PCOS is now outlined as having three clear symptoms: an increase in testosterone levels, irregular or no ovulation and multiple cysts on the ovaries (12 or more follicles measuring 2-9mm). In America, the definition of PCOS does not include multiple cysts on the ovaries, in case you find different information on the internet.

Around 34% of women undergoing IVF were found to have PCO; cysts on the ovaries but without the hormonal abnormalities. Multiple cysts increase levels of AMH and oestrogen.

In slim women with PCOS, higher levels of LH are often found, whereas women who are overweight, tend not have higher levels of LH but rather higher levels of insulin (hyperinsulinaemic) and testosterone. Research has shown that acupuncture helps to regulate insulin levels, thereby regulating testosterone and PCOS. It can also regulate AMH levels.

By reducing sympathetic nerve activity and balancing hormone levels, acupuncture has been shown in studies to better regulate the menstrual cycle, reduce the number of ovarian cysts, stimulate ovulation, enhance blastocyst implantation and regulate the menstrual cycle in women with PCOS. It can also help to control the effects of obesity and anorexia.


Gui et al. (1997) Experimental study of effect on tonifying kidney herbs in pituitary ovary adrenal gland of androgen sterilized rats. Chung Kuo Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih, 17(12):735-8 (ISSN: 1003-5370).

Gerhard et al. (1992) Auricular Acupuncture in the Treatment of Female Infertility. Gynecol. Endocrinol. 6, 171-181.

Jedel et al. (2011) Impact of electro-acupuncture and physical exercise on hyperandrogenism and oligo/amenorrhea in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 300: E37–E45.

Mannerås et al. (2011) Low-Frequency Electro-Acupuncture and Physical Exercise Improve Metabolic Disturbances and Modulate Gene Expression in Adipose Tissue in Rats with Dihydrotestosterone-Induced Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Endocrinology 149: 3559–3568, 2008.

Qu, et al. The effects of acupuncture on polycystic ovary syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Integrative Medicine, Volume 8, Issue 1, February 2016, 12–18.

Qin et al. (2016) Effect of acupoint catgut embedding therapy combined with Chinese medicine for nourishing the kidneys and promoting blood circulation and improving blood glucose and lipid levels as well as the pregnancy rate in obese PCOS patients with infertility. Exp Ther Med, Nov;12(5):2909-2914.

Stener-Victorin, et al..(2000) Effects of electro-acupuncture on anovulation in women with polycystic ovary syndrome Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand, Mar;79(3):180-8.

Stener-Victorin et al. (2004) Effect of electro-acupuncture stimulation of different frequencies and intensities on ovarian blood flow in anaesthetized rats with steroid-induced polycystic ovaries. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, 2.

Stener-Victorin, et al. (2007) Acupuncture in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Current Experimental and Clinical Evidence. Journal of Neuroendocrinology 20 (3), 290–298. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2007.01634.x.

Tugrul Cabioglu et al. (2006) Changes in Serum Leptin and Beta Endorphin Levels with Weight Loss by Electroacupuncture and Diet Restriction in Obesity Treatment. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, Vol. 34, No. 1, 1–11.

Ushiroyama, et al. (2006) Effects of Switching to Wen-Jing-Tang (Unkei-To) from Preceding Herbal Preparations Selected by Eight-Principle Pattern Identification on Endocrinological Status and Ovulatory Induction in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, Vol. 34, No. 2, 177–187.


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