PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome, is a common female endocrine disorder that often results in irregular menstruation and fertility difficulties due to the lack of regular ovulation. Recently, researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology in Sweden published the results of a new study in the American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism. Their goal was, “to investigate whether acupuncture affects ovulation frequency and to understand the underlying mechanisms of any such effect by analyzing luteinizing hormone (LH) and sex steroid secretion in women with PCOS.” Previous research has revealed that acupuncture increases menstrual frequency and decreases testosterone levels in women with PCOS.
The study: Thirty-two women with PCOS were randomly chosen to receive either 1.) acupuncture in combination with low-frequency electrical stimulation or 2.) physical therapy. They were all treated twice a week for 10-13 weeks. The researchers found that the acupuncture group experienced significantly reduced ovarian and adrenal sex steroid serum levels. The levels returned to healthier numbers with no effect on the LH hormone. They also concluded that repeated acupuncture treatments resulted in a higher ovulation frequency in women with PCOS and was more effective than just physical therapy. This study provides further evidence that acupuncture may help control the PCOS symptoms due to its regulatory function on the endocrine system.
Source – “Acupuncture for ovulation induction in polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized controlled trial.” Johansson, Julia, et al. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism (2013).