Jan 102015

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is one of the most common endocrine disorders affecting as many as 10% of women of childbearing age. Every month, the ovaries produce a large number of follicles. With PCOS, however, no egg is produced, and cysts form when the follicles stop growing. These cysts resemble a string of pearls on the ovaries when viewed on ultrasound.
PCOS symptoms vary from mild to severe. Many women will have long or irregular menstrual cycles, or the period may be absent altogether. The cysts and surrounding tissues produce elevated androgen hormones, which may result in acne and excess facial and body hair. Weight gain can be common as insulin resistance occurs. The amount of estrogen circulating in the bloodstream increases relative to other hormones such as progesterone, causing increased production of LH (lutenizing hormone) and testosterone. This hormonal shift prevents ovulation.
PCOS may result in an increase of high muscle sympathetic nerve activity that constricts blood vessels and can increases a woman’s risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes, which, in turn , can be risk factors for heart attack or stroke.
For young women, the primary Western medicine approach employs birth- controlling hormones in an effort to regulate the menstrual cycle. This usually will regulate the cycle, but once the woman decides to conceive and stops birth control, the original problem remains and must be addressed for conception to occur.
For women trying to conceive, Western medicine will often prescribe ovulation drugs like Clomid. If there is no response, hCG may be added to the treatment regimen. If there is still no response, invitro fertilization (IVF) is usually the next recommendation.
How Chinese Medicine Can Help
As with any health issue, in Chinese Medicine, and at Integrative Health Services, we look at the whole body. Treatments are aimed at balancing hormones using diet, acupuncture, and herbs. At Integrative Health Services, we may also incorporate dietary supplements into the treatment. While women vary in the severity of the syndrome and response to treatments, a typical response is to notice signs of ovulation like increased fertile vaginal discharge, followed by an increase in basal body temperature. Progressively, ovulation should move closer to cycle day 14.
Acupuncture works to restore the entire sympathetic nervous system to balance. Greater blood flow to the ovaries and the uterus improves ovulation and enhances implantation. As hormones balance, follicles mature and release a healthy egg, ready to combine with a healthy sperm and create life.
Herbal therapy works in a similar way. Like food, herbs are used to resolve the underlying issues associated with PCOS and provide ongoing treatment between acupuncture sessions. Herbs can increase blood flow and help dissolve any existing ovarian cyst.
Dietary guidelines include eliminating sugars and refined carbohydrates. Avoiding soda and fruit juice is important because they can quickly raise blood sugar. Lean meats that have not been hormonally treated are recommended along with a variety of fresh vegetables. Dairy products can produce what Chinese Medicine calls dampness in the body, a condition that can aggravate tendencies toward PCOS and should be minimized or eliminated. Caffeine and alcohol should also be avoided.
At Integrative Health Services, we are dedicated to helping you achieve your dream of becoming a parent. If you know or suspect you have PCOS, we are ready to help you. We offer a free 15-minute consultation to help you determine our approach is a good fit for you. We are conveniently located in Shorewood, near Milwaukee, WI.

4465 N. Oakland Ave, Suite 200 S    |    Milwaukee    |    414-906-0285    |    meredith@myintegrativehealthservices.com

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