Do you have PCOS? Or have you recently been diagnosed with PCOS and are confused with what that means?

You’re not on your own, PCOS affects 12-20% (1)of women and for many cases women remain undiagnosed.

You maybe asking yourself what is the difference between PCO and PCOS

It is important to understand that Polycystic Ovaries “PCO” differs from the syndrome “PCOS”.

Many women may just have polycystic ovaries and have no other symptoms of the disorder. A pelvic ultrasound may reveal that there are 12 or more cysts on one or both ovaries. Women can ovulate with PCO and none of the symptoms affect them, in this case they have the condition but not the syndrome.

PCOS on the other hand is a common hormonal condition. There are a number of symptoms that the condition is based on, which can include:

– Increased androgens which may result in increased hair growth, acne or increased blood testosterone levels

– Insulin resistance meaning your body struggles with regulating your blood glucose levels, this can lead to weight gain or women struggling to lose weight and keep it off.

Having PCOS may also mean that you do not ovulate, your periods may be irregular or absent,  some women only have one period a year, and in some cases it is not until women start to try and conceive that they start questioning why things are not going to plan. It may simply be because they are not releasing an egg and ovulating regularly.

If you are trying to conceive it is important to understand that having PCOS doesn’t mean that you will not be able to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy. There are a number of ways you can help your body and manage your condition, this includes lifestyle and dietary changes.

One of the most common patterns of PCOS in Chinese medicine is Phlegm and Dampness. From a Chinese medicine perspective this describes the cysts and symptoms present which can include being tired, difficulty losing weight, heaviness, bloating, swelling and fluid retention in feet and ankles, slow metabolism, dizziness and poor appetite. Your acupuncturist will ask about your symptoms in detail.

The diagnosis in TCM always takes into consideration the symptoms that manifest in every individual, as we understand that not everyone is the same and this is why TCM can be a great way to tailor each treatment to every single individual person. What works for one person may not work for another and no two people are the same.

Now that you have this information what can you do? Here is how acupuncture may be able to help:

1: It is a great way to naturally regulate your hormones (2)

2: It can regulate your periods, kickstart a period and regulate long menstrual cycles (2)

3: Can induce ovulation by selecting specific points along the body which have a direct effect on the uterus and ovaries

4: Relax and sedate your body, which can have an effect on your cortisol levels which is directly related to your stress levels

5: Supporting metabolism and regulating your appetite. The fact that you may have a lack of an appetite can be affecting your weight management, this can be why your metabolism is sluggish, when you have an appetite this is a great way to know your body is on track (4)

6: Regulating your bowel movements, this is especially important as women may be prone to constipation or having loose stools, and regular bowel motions are a way the body naturally detoxes

7: Increasing your energy. When your body is working harmoniously it means that there are no blockages in the body

8: Reducing acne, especially if you suffer from outbreaks related to your menstrual cycle

9.Assisting your cravings. If your blood glucose levels drop throughout the day it can result in sweet cravings (3)

10: Herbal medicine generally complements the use of acupuncture, it is a great way to support your body in targeting all your individual symptoms. Your TCM practitioner will be able to assess what herbal formula is best suited for you.

What to expect with treatments

If you are planning on seeing an acupuncturist you will be assessed and a diagnosis will be determined

For gynaecological conditions weekly acupuncture sessions are generally recommended to support your body. You should allow yourself a period of up to 3 months or more to help regulate your body, you have to remember that you have had this condition for years and hormonal conditions can not be regulated over night

Acupuncture’s main role is encouraging blood flow through the the uterus and ovaries. this is performed by placing needles along different points in the body that correspond to different channels and organs.

Your body responds to the stimulation of the points. In some cases there maybe blockages that need to be released.

Acupuncture for polycystic ovaries and PCOS is generally placed in the abdominal region as well as hands and legs. Depending on your symptoms and where you are in your cycle these points may vary.

Understanding and listening to your body is vital for a good outcome. Your body is your most important asset. At times your body sends you signals that something isn’t right, and when you have a better understanding of your condition things start to make more sense and you can directly relate all your symptoms that you have been experiencing to your diagnosis of PCOS. Your acupuncturist will help to explain what is happening for you and provide you with tools to support your health outside the treatment room. Maintaining good health is essential to all aspects of your wellbeing.

If you would like to find out more about PCOS or find out more about how we can assist you on your journey please contact us at ……, we would love to hear from you.

Resources

1.afp reproductive health :https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2012/october/polycystic-ovary-syndrome/

(2)Traditional Chinese medicine and infertility. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18460933

(2)Treating Gynaecological Disorders with Traditional Chinese Medicine: A reviewhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2816470/#R28

(3)Repeated Acupuncture Treatments Increases Whole Body Glucose Uptake and Decrease Circulating Testosterone in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

http://press.endocrine.org/doi/abs/10.1210/endo-meetings.2015.RE.7.THR-099

(4)[Effect of Transcutaneuos Acupoint Electrostimulation on Serum Sex Hormone Levels and Expression of Ovarian Steroid Hormone Metabolic Enzymes in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Rats].

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27141614

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