Polycystic Ovarian  Syndrome (PCOS)

Acupuncture treatment for Polycystic Ovarian  Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic Ovarian  Syndrome (PCOS)

A recent Cochrane review on the treatment of PCOS, found that Chinese medicine treatments provide good results compared to conventional medical treatments, with much fewer side effects (Lim et al., 2011).

At the Rozelle Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Centre we listen to your concerns about PCOS; your fertility, irregular cycles, fatigue, acne, weight gain, and hormonal imbalance. We understand that everyone experiences PCOS differently and we bring to the consultation: support, insight, explanations, and an individualised treatment plan.

Chinese medicine theory dictates that there are reasons related to constitution, diet, and lifestyle that predisposes a woman to PCOS.

What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common endocrine disorders of women of reproductive age and is a leading cause of female infertility.

It affects between 4% and 12% of women worldwide and its clinical features include menstrual disorders, secondary amenorrhoea, blood hormone abnormalities, excessive hair growth, acne, obesity, and infertility.

What causes PCOS?

PCOS is regarded as a chronic systemic disease whose precise pathogenesis has not been well defined by Western Medicine.

It is however, frequently associated with insulin resistance, elevated androgen levels, chronic inflammation, and oxidative stress.

What causes PCOS in Chinese medicine?

Traditional Chinese medical (CM) theory provides an excellent framework with which to diagnose the cause of PCOS in patients, as its exact cause varies from patient to patient.

Clinically, CM suggests PCOS is often a combination of both excess and deficient conditions and the most involved organ systems include the spleen, liver, and kidneys. From a CM perspective the most common patterns of PCOS are phlegm and damp accumulation (fluid filled cysts) and Kidney Yang Deficiency (poor metabolism). The team at the Rozelle Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Centre is able to explain these theories in a practical every day application during the consultation.

Some common symptoms?

There is a wide spectrum of symptoms of PCOS and they can vary from patient to patient. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Irregular, heavy, or infrequent periods, or an absence of periods altogether (ammenhorea) – 90% of women with PCOS experience irregular menstruation,
  • Obesity – 50% of women with PCOS are overweight,
  • Acne and or excessive hair growth – 83% of women with PCOS have heavy hair growth and/or acne,
  • Insulin resistance – 50-70% of women with PCOS have insulin resistance,
  • Infertility and recurrent miscarriage – up to 70% of women with PCOS experience infertility.

If ovulation cannot be induced using clomifene then injectable gonatrophins such as gonal f may be given in small doses as part of an artificial insemination (AI) cycle. Alternatively, IVF may be recommended.

There are also various surgical methods including wedge resection, ovarian drilling, and ovarian diathermy that are recommended in some more severe cases of PCOS.

How does Chinese medicine treat PCOS?

Chinese medicine (CM) utilises treatments that are aimed at primarily re-establishing the healthy function of the ovaries and treating the underlying causes.

Acupuncture has been shown in several studies to support It is also important to note that lifestyle modification is an essential component of treatment.

At RACM  we uses Chinese medicine theory to comprehensively diagnose the factors contributing to the development of PCOS and treats these using acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, nutritional supplements, and lifestyle modification.


  1. Zhao, L. (2012). Comprehensive Treatment of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Related Infertility. Journal of the Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture UK, 19 (1): 12-16.
  2. Lim DCE, Chen W, Cheng LNC, Xue CChangli, Wong FWS, O’Sullivan AJ, Liu Jp. Acupuncture for polycystic ovary syndrome. Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews 2011, Issue 8. Art No: CD007689.
  3. Jiang D, Zhang y, Wu X, Wu S. (2015). Infertility in polycystic ovary syndrome treated with acupuncture and clomiphene: a randomized controlled trial.
  4. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu, 35 (2): 114-118 4. Zuo T, Zhu M, Xu W. (2016) Roles of Oxidative Stress in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Cancers. The Journal of Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity: Article ID 8589318.
  5. Joham AE, Teede HJ, Ranasinha S, Zoungas S Boyle J, (2015) Prevalence of infertility and use of fertility treatment in woman with polycystic ovary syndrome. Journal of Women’s Health 24(4): 299-307.

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