Chinese Medicine for PCOS
Polycystic ovary syndrome – PCOS – is a common condition that impairs ovary function and is a major cause of infertility. 1 in 10 women have PCOS with over half not exhibiting any symptoms. In this blog we will discuss this condition from Western and Chinese Medical perspectives and explore the various treatment options available.
PCOS from a Western Medical Perspective
There are 3 main features of PCOS: Irregular periods, excess androgen and polycystic ovaries.
- Irregular periods means that your ovaries do not regularly release eggs – your periods may happen irregularly or you may not have periods at all. Irregular periods are linked to a number of medical conditions.
- Androgens are a group of hormones that play a role in male traits and reproduction. They are present in both males and females and women in fact have higher androgen rates. Excess androgens can promote unwanted facial or body hair growth.
- Polycystic ovaries are enlarged ovaries that contain multiple harmless follicles – or fluid filled sacs which can block ovulation. Without ovulation it is not possible to become pregnant.
Many experts talk about PCOS once it has been diagnosed in the patient, however, very few people talk about ‘Pre-PCOS’ condition.
What exactly is Pre PCOS? Pre PCOS is the stage before PCOS is officially detected. It has the same symptoms as PCOS however, no cyst on the ovaries is detected during an ultra scan. In many cases, misdiagnosis can affect the women’s health.
Common signs of PCOS
|Silent Symptoms||Physical Symptoms||Emotional Symptoms|
|Enlarged ovaries||Acne||Anxiety / Depression|
|Excess androgen – high level of male hormones||Irregular period||Sleep Issues|
|Polycystic ovaries||Weight Gain / Belly Fat||Mood Swings / Irritable|
|High Cholesterol||Hair Loss||Low Sex Drive|
When is PCOS Diagnosed & Why Is It Often Diagnosed Late?
PCOS is diagnosed when women suffer from irregular periods, absent period, absent ovulation and infertility. Some women also suffer from acne, hair loss, some experience excess body hair, IBS, weight gain, low sexual function as well as depression.
Currently, the diagnosis of PCOS is dependent upon clinical blood test and Ultrasound scan. This means it is only diagnosed at a later stage when a cyst in the ovaries is present and the blood test proves hormone imbalance exists. It is only at this stage that PCOS is ‘officially’ diagnosed and women start looking for treatment. This is where ‘Pre-PCOS’ plays a part.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has a different approach to diagnosing and treating PCOS and offers an alternative natural therapy for PCOS.
Chinese Medicine and PCOS
The first point in Traditional Chinese Medicine when diagnosing any health problems include:
- Looking at Patients Tongue
- Checking their Pulse
- Looking at Patient’s History and Lifestyle
Diagnosis and treatment in traditional Chinese Medicine revolve around the principle of Yin-Yang Balance. Chinese Medicine diagnosis adds some more symptoms and are often used to identify PCOS before it is confirmed by scans or blood test: Pre PCOS
- Cold hand and feet
- Bloating and Windy
- Chronic Fatigue
- The body of the Tongue is, light pink in colour and both sides of the tongue body have teeth mark
- Pulse is weak and deep
Root Cause of PCOS:
• Kidney Qi Deficiency
• Kidney Qi Stagnation
This includes Qi Stagnation, Blood Stasis, Phlegm and Damp Retention and Damp-Heat symptoms. Multiple factors are involved with the Spleen, Kidney and Liver all playing important roles.
Disharmony along the Chong and Ren Meridians – energetic channels which run along the midline of the body – also contribute to this complex condition.
Irregular or absent periods due to PCOS
Irregular menstruation can be caused by many factors including worry, stress, depression and restlessness. These emotions cause the Liver Qi – to stagnate, triggering a cascade of negative effects: The blood circulation slows down, this leads to the blood cooling and eventually becoming stuck. The result is a delayed menstrual cycle or scant menstruation.
Enlarged ovaries and weight gain due to PCOS
Enlarged ovaries and weight gain are the result of Spleen and Kidney Qi Deficiency causing Phlegm Damp. The Spleen is responsible for the metabolism of nutrients from foods, as well as the transformation and transportation of fluids in the body. The Phlegm Damp accumulates in the uterus causing the cysts around the ovaries to swell up, blocking the eggs from being released and impacting on the body’s ability to transport fluids. Over time this fluid stagnates resulting in weight gain.
Excessive facial hair growth due to PCOS
In Chinese Medicine unwanted facial hair growth in women is related to the Kidney and to Liver Stagnation, which can manifest as blood stasis or excess heat in the channels. Blood Stasis cause hair follicles to be nourished excessively creating coarse unwanted hair. Excess heat in the channels also promotes the acne component of PCOS.
Chinese Medicine for PCOS Fertility Struggles
Chinese Medicine offers natural remedies which are extremely effective at treating the root cause of PCOS. The goal of this natural therapy focuses on enabling the release of eggs and also supporting the underlying metabolic issues that characterise this condition. For those who are trying to get pregnant, TCM will help to promote healthy ovarian function, increase the blood flow to the uterus and support ovulation for fertilisation.
When PCOS is exacerbated by excess weight, boosting the Spleen Yang Qi and adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle can help to optimise metabolism and support weight loss.
If stress has contributed to irregular menses, acupuncture points and herbs that invigorate the smooth flow of Liver Qi will be added.
This is achieved by:
- Tonifying (or strengthening) the Kidney that governs the reproductive system and is associated with the genetic component of PCOS
- Strengthening the Spleen to remove excess dampness in the body and to balance the levels of Yin and Yang
- Increasing Blood and Qi flow to ensure that sufficient levels of nutrients and oxygen are being transported to the egg and surrounding tissues.
- By activating carefully selected points on the meridian system through acupuncture, by warming areas of the body that are cool or deficient through the use of moxibustion, and/ or nourishing the body through natural Herbal medicine we are able to increase energy levels and restore balance
Learn more about TCM’s view on PCOS directly from our expert team!
Natural PCOS Treatment With Chinese Medicine
1. Herbs and Acupuncture for PCOS & Infertility
Chinese medicine uses herbs and acupuncture to regulate menstrual cycles, improve sluggish digestion and to reduce the size of cysts. It is also effective at stimulating ovulation and it also improves egg quality. By gently nurturing the body to a position of balance TCM gently creates an environment that is ready for the successful conception of a child.
There is a good deal of evidence to suggest that acupuncture treatment is effective at regulating the menstrual cycle. It also balances hormone levels, improves blood flow to the ovaries and also helps to calm down the nervous system.
2.Diet and lifestyle tips
If you are overweight all treatments for PCOS work better when you start to lose weight. A recent study showed that combining acupuncture and exercise reduces high levels of androgens and lead to more regular menstruation. All moderate to high intensity exercise will be helpful – be it riding a stationary bicycle, or going for a jog in the park.
The best foods are those that do not raise your blood sugar too much – such as vegetables, protein and healthy fats. Reducing your intake of refined carbohydrates such as sweets, bread, pasta, juices and fizzy drinks will be beneficial.
3.Food as medicine
Ginger aids PCOS related periods cramping pain, coldness in the ovaries and delayed periods. It supports healthy Spleen and Kidney function, speeds up ovarian blood circulation and removes cold from the abdomen area. Ginger specially reduces ovarian water retention and also helps with indigestion issues.
Kale helps PCOS related pelvic area inflammation, water retention and indigestion. It boosts Spleen and Kidney Qi energy. It reduces inflammation and supports the flow of Vital Qi flow. Kale is loaded with powerful anti-oxidants, and is packed with Vitamin K. It speeds up blood circulation to the ovaries and other fertility organs.
Celery helps PCOS related boating, gas and weight gain. Rich in Vital Qi, celery boosts Spleen and Kidney Qi, helping the body to digest as well as operate stimulating the Colon. It’s high levels of antioxidants, potassium, electrolytes, means that celery is an excellent source of anti-inflammatories. It also helps to boost lipid metabolism.
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Product in this article
PCOS Infertility Kit
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.