Acupuncture for PCOS
What is PCOS?
PCOS is a common condition. PC stands for polycystic, O is for ovary, and S is for syndrome. It is a syndrome because it consists of several features, including obesity, unovulation or infertility, and abnormal periods in the form of no period at all, skipping periods, or sometimes heavy, irregular periods.
How is PCOS normally treated?
There is actually no specific treatment because, it is a multi-faceted condition. When a patient comes to you, she comes in for a particular complaint. For example, infertility — that’s a reflection of unovulation. We focus in on how to make the patient ovulate, if she is interested in pregnancy, obviously to enable her to ovulate and get pregnant. Now, the other symptoms like obesity, we deal with it the same way that we do with any type of obesity.
What is the underlying cause of PCOS? What causes all these symptoms?
There is no answer yet, but if we look at it endocrinologically or hormonally, there is a problem with the LH production. In other words, there is increased LH production, and that causes a repercussion in the ovaries. This will cause the ovaries to produce more testosterone. The testosterone manifests, and it cuts off the rhythm that induces the ovulation.
Why use acupuncture for a condition like this?
First of all, it has been used in other countries, such as China. It has been successful, so the reason why we attempt to use acupuncture is to stay away from medications. Some of the medications may not be as harmless as we think they are. Some patients are recalcitrant, or not responding to medications. Also, some medications can cause side effects that are worrisome. Therefore, if we can prove that the ovulation can reduce PCOS in patients, then we will not subject them to the rest of the possible side effects of the medications.
What is unique about the points you choose when treating a patient?
We have to go back to the theories behind acupuncture. Basically, there are specific points on the body that have special functions. If treating PCOS, I will be using those points that have been found to be helpful in gynecology. These points are actually only a manifestation of the energy on the particular meridian, or channel. I would be using the meridians that have affinity to the reproductive system. Treating a headache requires different types of meridians, and there are various types of headaches, so again it all depends on the person and his or her problem.
In a nutshell, women should realize that acupuncture can be very helpful in many gynecological problems. It can be used as an adjunctive treatment for patients who still use the traditional methods, including medication and surgery. They should investigate the possibility of using it for the pain, for the infertility, for PMS, and for menopausal symptoms. Acupuncture has been helpful.