Up to a third of women in the UK have polycystic ovaries
PCOS affects millions of women in the UK and is the most common female hormonal disorder.
What are polycystic ovaries?
Polycystic ovaries contain a large number of harmless cysts that are no bigger than 8mm each.
The cysts are under-developed follicles which contain eggs that haven't developed properly. Often these follicles are unable to release an egg, meaning ovulation doesn't take place.
There are three features which lead to a woman being diagnosed with PCOS: - a number of cysts that develop around the edge of the ovaries - a failure in the release of eggs from the ovaries (no ovulation) - a higher level of male hormones than normal
These can lead to the following symptoms: - excessive body hair - irregular or light periods - problems getting pregnant - weight gain - acne
What causes PCOS?
The exact cause of PCOS is unknown. Overweight women are more at risk, over-production of insulin is a factor and it could be hereditary.
How can acupuncture help with PCOS?
Acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system and release neurochemical messenger molecules. The resulting biochemical changes influence the body's homeostatic mechanisms, promoting physical and emotional well-being.
Research has shown that acupuncture is an effective treatment for PCOS by: - Increasing blood flow to the ovaries (Stener-Victorin 2006, 2009) - Reducing number of ovarian cysts - Controlling hyperglycaemia and decreasing blood glucose and insulin levels - Regulating follicle stimulation hormone (FSH), luteinising hormone (LH) and androgens (Lim 2010; Feng 2009) - Reducing cortisol (the stress hormone) levels (Lim 2010) - Acting on areas of the brain known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, so promoting relaxation and deactivating the ‘analytical’ brain (Hui 2010; Hui 2009) - Improve the pregnancy rate in patients with PCOS undergoing IVF (Cui 2011)
If you think you might have PCOS please consider a course of acupuncture. Feel free to discuss your condition with Kate.