TTC with PCOS?

Dec 21, 2023
TTC with PCOS?
Posted By Mike Berkley, L.Ac., FABORM

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder that affects around 10% of women of reproductive age. It is characterized by the presence of multiple cysts on the ovaries, irregular periods, and high levels of androgens (male hormones) in the body. One of the major challenges for women with PCOS is fertility issues, as the hormonal imbalances and abnormal ovulation patterns can make it difficult to conceive.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to treat a wide range of health conditions, including fertility problems. In recent years, there has been increasing evidence to support the effectiveness of these modalities in helping patients with PCOS to conceive.

Acupuncture is a form of treatment that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body. It is believed to work by stimulating the body's natural healing processes and regulating the flow of qi (vital energy) in the body. In the context of fertility, acupuncture is thought to improve blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, regulate hormonal imbalances, and improve the function of the ovaries.

Several studies have shown that acupuncture can improve pregnancy rates in women with PCOS. For example, a randomized controlled trial published in the journal Fertility and Sterility found that women with PCOS who received acupuncture along with in vitro fertilization (IVF) had significantly higher pregnancy rates compared to those who received IVF alone. Another study published in the Journal of Chinese Medicine found that acupuncture improved menstrual regularity and increased the chances of pregnancy in women with PCOS.

Chinese herbal medicine is another important aspect of TCM that has been used to treat fertility problems for centuries. Chinese herbs are prescribed based on the unique characteristics and needs of the individual, and are often used in combination with acupuncture to enhance the therapeutic effect.

There are several Chinese herbs that are commonly used to treat PCOS and improve fertility. For example, the herb Paeonia lactiflora is thought to regulate hormonal imbalances and improve ovarian function. The herb Angelica sinensis is believed to regulate menstrual cycles and improve blood flow to the uterus and ovaries. Other herbs that may be helpful in treating PCOS and improving fertility include Cuscuta chinensis, Ligusticum chuanxiong, and Fennel.

It is important to note that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine should be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for PCOS and fertility. This may also include lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, as well as medications or other medical interventions. 

In conclusion, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can be effective complementary treatments for patients with PCOS trying to conceive. These modalities can help to regulate hormonal imbalances, improve ovarian function, and increase the chances of pregnancy.