Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects ten percent of women in their reproductive years. It is a metabolic disorder that is associated with a majority of infertile women. However, there is evidence that acupuncture for PCOS can increase fertility.
What is PCOS?
PCOS disrupts ovulation by creating a large number of immature follicles in the ovary each month. It also disrupts menstruation; many women will go without a period for a number of months and then have a heavy period.
PCOS is a disorder that affects the endocrine system. An overabundance of androgens, such as testosterone, causes a hormonal imbalance which in turn can cause increased body hair and acne. Women with PCOS are often overweight. Because PCOS affects the metabolism of a women, they tend to be insulin resistant.
Women who have PCOS have issues with egg quality. Thus treatments such as IVF are not always successful because embryos aren’t always viable.
How can Acupuncture Treat PCOS Infertility?
Acupuncture treats many of the symptoms of PCOS and infertility. Acupuncture stimulates the hyperthalamic-pituitary-adrenal system which regulates FSH, LH, and androgens, which then improves egg quality. It also improves blood flow to the ovaries which helps reduce cysts and aids in regular ovulation. Acupuncture also helps the body control blood glucose levels and combat insulin resistance.
One theory about how acupuncture treats the various symptoms of PCOS is that it can reduce elevated levels of the neurohormone β-endorphin, which then affects a women’s metabolism negatively. Another hypothesis is that because the PCOS ovaries have more sympathetic nerve endings which then increase androgens, acupuncture can directly decrease the heightened stimulation of these nerve endings.
Although not all the mechanisms of how acupuncture treats PCOS is known, there is much evidence that it can successfully control PCOS symptoms and enhance infertility.
Contact us for more information on how acupuncture can help treat PCOS infertility.
Supporting IVF Success with Acupuncture
“While most fertility specialists won’t treat patients unless they’ve tried unsuccessfully to conceive for six months to a year,” Jamie Starkey, LAc, explains, “a woman can start seeing an acupuncturist long before she hopes to get pregnant — especially if she has any fertility concerns.” At Los Angeles Acupuncture and Wellness, we specialize in such concerns.
Acupuncture for IVF success studies
Acupuncture isn’t just for pain and stress relief; data suggests it can indeed be a fertility champion, too. For example, researchers at the University of Witten/Herdecke in Dortmund, Germany conducted a study of 225 women attempting to conceive. Patients who combined acupuncture with traditional fertility treatments had a pregnancy rate of 28.4 percent, compared to 13.8 percent among those who did not supplement their conventional treatment.
At the University of Maryland, researchers concluded that for patients undergoing IVF at clinics that have otherwise low success rates, acupuncture indeed increased pregnancy rates. Their analysis, which included 4,021 subjects, revealed that the practice increased pregnancy rates in clinics with an IVF success rate below 32%.
Yet another study published in Fertility and Sterility in 2002 concluded that acupuncture appears to be a useful tool for improving pregnancy rates after assisted reproduction therapy.
Why might acupuncture help you conceive a baby? Acupuncture is believed to stimulate neurotransmitters that produce the hormones controlling menstrual cycles and ovulation. The treatment may also help fertility by increasing blood flow to the uterus, helping the body relax and de-stress, and reducing side effects from IVF medication.
PCOS Acupuncture fertility Los Angeles
Enough with the technical talk. Have you see our baby gallery? Browse through the adorable cherubs we’ve been able to help bring into this world, and read what their families had to say about their experience at Los Angeles Acupuncture and Wellness. Not only is Dr. Laurie Binder a Licensed Acupuncturist and Doctor of Acupuncture, she’s also a registered nurse certified nurse practitioner, a Lamaze certified childbirth educator, and a certified health consultant. Needless to say, you’ll be in good hands. If you’re ready to explore your fertility and wellness options, contact us for an appointment.