Anna Benrick et al, FASEB Journal, April 12, 2017, doi:10.1096/fj.201601381R
Foundation of American Experimental Biology Journal
Applying just one session of low frequency electroacupuncture has been shown to reduce blood sugar in overweight women with PCOS. This adds to the mounting evidence we have that indicates that electroacupuncture is a valid and desirable treatment option for PCOS patients trying to improve their ovary function and fertility.
Junyoung Jo and Yoon Jae Lee, 2017 Acup in Med, online
British Medical Journal; Acupuncture in Medicine
A review of randomised and controlled trials that examined the effect of acupuncture on 430 PCOS patients undergoing IVF, indicates that acupuncture (both electro acupuncture and manual acupuncture) improved pregnancy rates and reduced the risk of OHSS. Acupuncture was delivered only during the IVF cycle and did not improve live birth outcomes in this review.
Zheng YH et al, Jnl of Alt and Comp Med, 2013 Sep;19(9):740-5.
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
When overweight PCOS patients were given acupuncture treatment twice a week for 6 months, using points on the abdomen, they responded better than those given Metformin for the same period of time, in terms of increased frequency of ovulation and weight loss.
Rashidi BH et al, Acupunct Med. 2013; 31(2):151-6
Acupuncture in Medicine (BMJ)
A group of women with PCOS who were undergoing IVF were given 5 acupuncture treatments once they commenced the IVF drugs. Compared to a group who had no acupuncture they produced higher quality embryos but did not achieve a higher pregnancy rate.
In our experience PCOS patients require several months of treatment in order to make a noticeable change in hormone levels and ovary activity.
Not all PCOS patients have difficulties managing their weight – just as not all over weight women have PCOS. However where weight is an issue, acupuncture has long been used as part of a successful weight loss programme. One of acupuncture’s mechanisms may be its beneficial effects on the relevant hormones.
Sui Y et al, 2012, Obesity Rev, Vol 3, p 409–430 Obesity Reviews
PCOS patients are not always overweight but for those with insulin resistance getting on top of weight gain can be difficult. This review (which is not specific to obesity only in PCOS patients) reports that in terms of weight loss, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are better than placebo and lifestyle interventions and have similar efficacy to anti-obesity drugs (including Metformin), but with fewer side effects. This review also noted that those who used acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine to lose weight had a lower risk of relapse.
Pastore L et al, 2011 Jnl Clin Endocrinol Metab Aug online jc.2011-1126
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
A reduction in LH levels and an increase in ovulation frequency was found in PCOS women having acupuncture using either real needling or sham needling (which pricks rather than penetrates the acupuncture points in a manner similar to Japanese acupuncture). As we have seen in a couple of other studies reported on these pages, mild stimulation of acupuncture points without penetration is not an entirely inert control and a comparison with a group undergoing no treatment would have been an interesting control. True acupuncture but not sham acupuncture reduced levels of testosterone and insulin in the women who ovulated.
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