PCOS is one of the most common hormonal endocrine disorders among women of reproductive age. It’s estimated that about 5 million women have PCOS. It is characterized by small ovarian cysts, irregular menstrual cycles, abnormal hair growth, acne, and metabolic problems leading to weight gain. Between 40 and 80 percent women with PCOS are overweight or obese which can increase the risk of some conditions associated with PCOS like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. The presence of the cysts associated with PCOS increases male sex hormones (ie: testosterone) which causes hormonal imbalance and can cause disturbance to the ovulation cycle (ovulate later in the cycle) and may lead to infertility.
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PCOS from a Chinese Medicine viewpoint
The most common manifestation of PCOS is dampness or phlegm. There are many possible linked patterns of deficiency and excess; the patterns have different manifestations in the way each woman’s body ovulates. For example, Yang Qi deficiency pattern may manifest and produce phlegm due to the lack of fluid moving and condensing.
How can acupuncture, herbs, diet therapy and exercise help treat PCOS?
Acupuncture: Improve and regulate ovulation, reduce endocrine indicators of PCOS, including LH/FSH ratios, testosterone concentrations, inhibit hyperactivity in the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight).
A study at Goteborg University in Sweden showed that electro-acupuncture may help women with PCOS to ovulate. Electro-acupuncture is the application of pulsating electrical current to acupuncture needles to stimulate acupuncture points.
Herbs: Some herbs like Gleditsia (Zao Jiao Ci) used during the first half of your menstrual cycle, before ovulation can assist in resolving phlegm by dissolving the waxy capsule that forms around the ovaries in PCOS and promotes ovulation. Many women have blood stasis which causes ovulatory pain, Leonurus seed (Chong Wei Zi) is a blood-quickening medicine and can encourage ovulation in blood stasis patterns. Other herbs like Psoralea (Bu Gu Zhi) and Circuligo (Xian Mao) help slowdown metabolism and insulin resistance.
Diet Therapy and exercise:
Endocrine abnormalities are affected by diet. Studies have shown that losing just 10% of your body weight can result in normal ovulation in women with PCOS. Fat cells store estrogen and usually there is too much Luteinizing hormone (LH) and estrogen circulating in women with PCOS. A healthy liver metabolizes these hormones efficiently and keep proper insulin balance. To maintain a healthy liver, include dietary sources of B vitamins, like meats and organ meats, green leafy vegetables and whole grains (brown rice). Cut down on animal fats and increase essential fatty acids, avoid dairy products which exacerbate the internal dampness condition, increase dietary fiber, eat fruits that are not too sweet like berries, cut out all forms of refined sugars and carbohydrates (white bread, pasta, white rice, rice cakes, most breakfast cereals, starchy low-fiber food). Get adequate amount of exercise to help relieve stress and oxygenate the tissues.
At Gingko Wellness, we have a whole person approach (mind, body, spirit) to treatment; with an aim to treat the underlying root cause and not just put a bandaid on the symptoms that manifest. Our Chinese medicine practitioners will evaluate and work with you to customize a treatment plan to support you heal through PCOS, naturally.
Give us a call today to learn more or book an appointment: 224-313-5901, or you can learn more on our website: gingkowellness.com
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