PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome is more common than you think and can have a big impact on your day-to-day life, especially if you’re trying to get pregnant.
There are three major categories of symptoms in PCOS. These are used to make an official diagnosis. Irregular periods, which might include cycles longer than 35 days or less than 9 periods a calendar year. Excess androgens including hair growth, hair loss, and acne. And finally, polycystic ovaries which can prevent them from functioning and cause pain.
There is also a component of insulin resistance and there can be a focus on weight gain and obesity making your symptoms worse, as well as increasing the likelihood of other comorbidities. However, not everyone has weight gain. There is such a thing as “Lean” PCOS.
The road to a diagnosis can be long and hard for some women. The good news is that Chinese Medicine can help you no matter where you are on your journey with PCOS.
There are a couple major organ systems involved, according to Chinese Medicine, that can interact and combine to varying degrees. Remember, everyone is unique, and your treatment will be optimized for you personally. There is no cookie cutter treatment.
Since we are dealing with the menstrual cycle, blood is a crucial aspect for treatment. Including the quality and quantity of blood and how it moves through the body. TCM calls this blood deficiency and blood stasis. It shows up in things like sharp cramps versus dull cramps, spider and varicose veins, dizziness upon standing, dry skin and more.
The organs that make blood and control its movement are also, obviously, crucial in treatment because we want to do more than treat symptoms. These are the Spleen, Liver and Kidney systems. These organ systems are the major players in a lot of reproductive issues, and you will see them referenced repeatedly.
Dampness and its treatment can take on a big part of the work in PCOS because in TCM it can mean weight gain, inflammation, swelling and other water metabolism issues. The insulin resistance and the cysts on the ovaries themselves fall under this category. In addition, the Spleen is responsible for producing damp when stressed, so it becomes doubly important.
In addition to treating the PCOS itself, we can also treat and improve other symptoms that can affect your quality of life, like feeling hot all the time, restless sleep, poor energy and more. Again, there is no ‘one size fits all’ treatment so it’s important to communicate your goals and symptoms to your practitioner.
Acupuncture does a lot of heavy lifting, but herbs and supplements become an important tool so that the treatment continues while you are at home. Formulas for moving the blood, a B-complex, and Primrose oil are some of the things I commonly recommend.
There is hope and ways to manage PCOS no matter how mild or severe. Schedule an appointment and we can discuss your situation and get you on the road to feeling better.