Can Acupuncture Help Treat Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

acupuncture needles( — Acupuncture and physical exercise benefit women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), according to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder involving an excess of male hormones. It affects up to 10% of women of childbearing years, and symptoms may include severe pelvic pain, acne, weight gain, patches of darkened skin and excess hair growth. Women with PCOS frequently experience infertility, and long-term complications can result in type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and endometrial cancer.

The Western Vs. Eastern Solutions To PCOS

Western medicine’s treatment of the disease may involve prescribing hormone treatments, such as contraceptive pills to make menstrual periods more regular. Depending on the symptoms a patient presents, doctors may also suggest medication to lower insulin levels. For women who have difficulty conceiving, physicians may recommend laparoscopic ovarian drilling, an outpatient procedure in which the surgeon punctures on the outer layer of the ovary with an electrode to decrease androgen production and increase the chances of ovulation.

However, there seems to be an alternative medicine solution. Hormone levels and menstrual bleeding patterns in women with PCOS improved in study groups which either received acupuncture treatments or exercise three times a week, compared with a control group which received no intervention. Lead researcher Elisabet Stener-Victorin notes “Of the two treatments, the acupuncture proved more effective.”