Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Traditional Chinese Medicine
In my extensive clinical experience dealing with PCOS, I have found Chinese Medicine very effective in promoting ovulation and regulating the natural cycle. The benefits of the treatments continue even after the treatments have stopped.
I believe that there is an incredible amount of misunderstanding about PCOS. Women often come to receive treatment not just for fertility but to regulate their menstrual cycle. I want to first say that PCOS is not an affliction, and it is unfair that women are given the statistical view that they will likely end up with diabetes or will certainly need medication to ovulate. Interestingly, there are many individuals who are diagnosed as PCOS just because that is the closest match for what the specialist can categorize them in. Some are skinny unlike the typical description in articles, some actually have a relatively regular menstrual cycle, and others might have a hormonal pattern which resembles that of PCOS.
PCOS is fairly manageable with modern (allopathic) medicine and life style changes. The main issue is that modern medicine employsmedication to “artificially” regulate your cycle, either through birth control pills, Metformin, or Clomid which are currently the most popular. Unfortunately, in most instances this takes the responsibility away from the individual who has PCOS in taking a proactive role. Also, there are some side effects to the medicines, not to mention the fact that many women do not wish to take any medication that only artificially regulates their body. It is a hard pill to swallow when someone tells you that you may need to take medication or be on birth control on a regular basis.
What causes PCOS? Lets us take a new look.
What causes PCOS? I believe the real cause is beyond the fundamental endocrinology disarray, but more of an evolutionary trait. It is very possibly that migratory patterns of our ancestors were the real source of the mystery. It is possible that travelling during dry seasons with diminished food supplies gave women with anovulatory cycles an added advantage, where their fertility increased, and who became pregnant by the end of their journey, when food was finally plentiful. This I believe is why women with true PCOS do not generally have a problem becoming pregnant once ovulation has resumed. Please keep in mind that this is a generalization, since today, individuals usually have a compounding effect of lifestyle and work stress and other conditions that complicate the basic picture.
How does Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture work to treat this?
In simplicity, Chinese herbs and acupuncture work to improve the ovarian function as well as regulate your nervous system so that the ovaries can resume a more natural cycle. There is some great research demonstrating how acupuncture by itself is able to readjust the body and redirect blood flow to the ovaries so that ovulation can resume. This coupled with some basic life style changes is part of the treatment. The other aspect is the use of herbal medicine prescribed on the basis of your TCM diagnosis to address the root of the condition. For instance many women with PCOS have bloating and fatigue without a menstrual cycle which underlies a Qi and blood deficiency condition. Many also tend towards feeling cold which possibly implies yang deficiency. Once treated according to the differential diagnosis, which includes eating right and performing certain exercises according toyour constitution, the ovulation gradually resumes a more regular pattern.
Many women in the GTA who come for treatment are generally not excited to take modern medicine and wish to pursue a more natural or alternative route. Others are interested to regulate their menstrual cycle or just to prepare them for a fertility procedure. The common denominator is that they have all heard about the benefits of especially Acupuncture, and want the opportunity to experience it for themselves, even if they may be apprehensive or sceptical at first. The consultation and the treatment is also a real eye opener, as you are able to have a glimpse at this from an entirely new perspective. This will ultimately change your view and your approach not just to PCOS but managing your health and lifestyle.
Traditional medicines have kept us healthy for thousands of years. They are the true foundation of our medical system, and there lies the preserved wisdom of lost centuries. It is remarkable how an ancient medical system can be so effective to stand the rigorous trials of modern day experiments and prove to be in a class of its own.