PCOS – (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) & Poly Cystic Ovaries

pic 2 for PCOS page
The Research Says:

A 2005 Chinese study looked at women with ovarian cysts to determine the therapeutic effect of acupuncture and moxabustion combined with Chinese herbs. In the treatment group, 54% of the women had enough improvement in their condition to be considered cured. In the control group, which did not receive TCM therapies, only 15% of the women were considered cured.

In 2000, a Swedish study on women with PCOS found that acupuncture treatments over a three-month period regulated ovulation in 38% of the women.

ScienceDaily (June 29, 2009). For Women With Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Acupuncture And Exercise Bring Relief, Reduce Risks.

Exercise and acupuncture treatments can reduce sympathetic nerve activity in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), according to a new study. The finding is important because women with PCOS often have elevated sympathetic nerve activity, which plays a role in hyperinsulinemia, insulin resistance, obesity and cardiovascular disease

Key Findings

The researchers measured the muscle sympathetic nerve activity before and after the 16-week study. Following treatment, the study found the following:

Both the acupuncture and exercise groups significantly decreased muscle sympathetic nerve activity compared to the control group.
The acupuncture group experienced a drop in waist size, but not a drop in body mass index or weight.
The exercise group experienced a drop in weight and body mass index but not in waist size.
The acupuncture group experienced fewer menstrual irregularities but the exercise group’s irregularities did not change.
In the acupuncture group, there was a significant drop in testosterone. This is an important indicator because the strongest independent predictor of high sympathetic nerve activity in women is the level of testosterone.
“This is the first study to demonstrate that repeated acupuncture and physical exercise can reduce high sympathetic nerve activity seen in women with PCOS,” according to the authors. “Furthermore, both therapies decreased measures of obesity while only acupuncture improved menstrual bleeding pattern.” Dr. Elisabet Stener-Victorin of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Acupuncture Helps Menstruation & PCOS – New Research 05 February 2012

Researchers have discovered that both electrical and manual acupuncture “improve menstrual frequency and decrease circulating androgens in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).” PCOS is a common female endocrine disorder with side-effects including irregular menstruation, amenorrhea, anovulation, infertility, polycystic ovaries and excess quantities of androgenic hormones. Excess androgens may lead to acne, obesity due to insulin resistance, high cholesterol and hirsutism (excess facial and body hair).

The manual and electroacupuncture groups showed normalization of estrogen activity and a decrease in androgens. In addition, the electroacupuncture group showed changes in the central opioid receptors of the hypothalamus suggesting that electroacupuncture may be “mediated by central opioid receptors….” The manual acupuncture group showed changes in the steroid receptors of the hypothalamus suggesting that manual acupuncture “may involve regulation of steroid hormone/peptide receptors.”

Another study published in the American Journal of Physiology

Endocrinology and Metabolism concludes that low frequency electro-acupuncture improved menstrual frequency and balanced sex steroid levels in women with PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome. This study measured blood changes in human female participants. Hyperandrogenism was measured in this study by determining the total concentration of testosterone, androgens, estrogens, androgen precursors, and glucuronidated androgen metabolites. The study measured that electro-acupuncture improved menstrual regularity in women with PCOS. The sex steroid levels in the electro-acupuncture group improved significantly and acne markedly decreased. The study measured improvements in a wide range of endocrine variables such that the researchers concluded that electro-acupuncture may help induce ovulation in women attempting to conceive since participants showed significant improvement in monthly menstrual frequency.


A Electrical and manual acupuncture stimulation affects estrous cyclicity and neuroendocrine function in a DHT-induced rat polycystic ovary syndrome model. Yi Feng1,2, Julia Johansson1, Ruijin Shao1, Louise Mannerås Holm1, Håkan Billig1, Elisabet Stener-Victorin1,3 . Experimental Physiology. DOI: 10.1113/expphysiol.2011.063131. 1
 Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. 2 
Department of Integrative Medicine and Neurobiology, State Key Lab of Medical Neurobiology, Shanghai Medical College; Institute of Acupuncture Research (WHO collaborating center for traditional medicine), Institutes of Brain Science, Fudan University, Shanghai, China. 3 
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, First Affiliated Hospital, Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine, China.


New research reveals that acupuncture increases ovulation frequency and regulates hormone levels in women with PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome. The researchers also discovered that acupuncture helps to downregulate testosterone and other masculinizing hormones such as dehydroepiandrosterone in women with PCOS. Excess amounts of male hormones are responsible for hirsutism, acne, insulin resistance and infertility in women with PCOS. Acupuncture was proven to successfully regulate endogenous sex steroids in the ovaries and in the blood.

This new research demonstrates a homeostatic effect of acupuncture on hormones given that multiple studies on males suffering from low testosterone levels show that mens’ testosterone levels increase with the use of tonic acupuncture techniques and electroacupuncture. Further, these studies show that acupuncture enhances male fertility. The ability of acupuncture to downregulate testosterone in women and upregulate testosterone in men demonstrates a homeostatic selective response to pathology by acupuncture stimulation on the endocrine system.

The new study was conducted by the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology and was published in the American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism. It took over a year of careful investigation. The researchers discovered remarkable changes in sex steroids, hormones, inhibin B and serum cortisol. Acupuncture successfully downregulated these secretions to healthier levels. At the same time, ovulation frequency increased significantly in the acupuncture group compared with the control group in this randomized investigation.

Infertility and subfertility are common in women with PCOS. This is often due to anovulation, a condition in which the ovaries do not release an oocyte and ovulation does not occur. This study definitively proves that acupuncture is an important method to help increase ovulation in women with PCOS.
The researchers note that they were motivated to conduct this investigation based on the findings of prior research showing that acupuncture improves menstrual frequency and decreases testosterone levels in women with PCOS. The goal of this new study was to measure the effects of acupuncture on ovulation and the mechanisms by which acupuncture exerts its effects.

The researchers measured that acupuncture beneficially regulates ovarian and adrenal sex steroids in women with PCOS.


Johansson, Julia, et al. “Acupuncture for ovulation induction in polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized controlled trial.” American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism (2013).

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