Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal disorder that affects around 5-15% of women of reproductive age.

The syndrome is named after the numerous cysts (which are actually immature eggs) which form in the ovaries when viewed by ultrasound. PCOS is considered a complex hormonal disorder related to genetic and environmental origins without a clear cause.

The condition is most commonly characterised by symptoms including irregular or no menstruation, difficulty falling pregnant, and symptoms of excessive male hormones such as excessive hair growth, acne and weight gain. To be diagnosed with the syndrome, a woman must have at least two of three symptoms: polycystic ovaries, irregular menstruation and hyperandrogenism.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Signs & Symptoms

  • Irregular and delayed menstrual cycles
  • Absence of menstrual periods
  • Infertility or difficulty falling pregnant
  • Excessive hair growth
  • Acne
  • Weight gain and insulin resistance

What Does The Research Say?

The following insights are obtained from scientific studies, systematic reviews and analysis of clinical trials on PCOS.

Scientific References

Browse our collection of scientific research on PCOS. It includes recent and reputable papers published by peer-reviewed journals within the last 10 years.

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

2022, Mar 31

Effects of Acupuncture Combined with Moxibustion on Reproductive and Metabolic Outcomes in Patients with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Among patients with PCOS, using acupuncture combined with moxibustion as a complementary therapy to basic treatments can improve pregnancy, ovulation, and miscarriage rates, the levels some sex hormones, and metabolic indicators, with good safety. Additionally, this combination therapy may have no effect on the FSH, oestradiol, or dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate level.

Li P, Peng J, Ding Z, Zhou X, Liang R Full Article

Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology

2021, Sep 23

A comprehensive insight into effects of green tea extract in polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review
Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology

This review suggests that green tea extract (GTE) could be considered a potential agent to attenuate PCOS complications mainly due to its effect on weight loss and glycemic levels.

Maleki V, Taheri E, Varshosaz P, Tabrizi FPF, Moludi J, Jafari-Vayghan H, Shadnoush M, Jabbari SHY, Seifoleslami M, Alizadeh M Full Article

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

2021, Mar 22

The Effect of Acupuncture on Glucose Metabolism and Lipid Profiles in Patients with PCOS: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Acupuncture is relatively effective and safe in improving glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity in patients with PCOS. The included studies were generally of not bad methodological quality, but further large-scale, long-term randomized controlled trials with rigorous methodological standards are still warranted.

Ruqun Zheng, Peng Qing, Mei Han, Jinlong Song, Min Hu, Hongxia Ma, Juan Li Full Article

Frontiers in Pharmacology

2020, Aug 12

Therapeutic Effects and Mechanisms of Herbal Medicines for Treating Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Review
Frontiers in Pharmacology

Herbal medicines are thought to be promising resources in the development of effective therapeutic agents for PCOS. Further studies that include methodological quality assessment and quantitative synthesis of outcomes are recommended.

Kwon Chan-Young, Cho Ik-Hyun, Park Kyoung Sun Full Article

Journal of Food Biochemistry

2020, Jul 27

The effect of cinnamon supplementation on glycemic control in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis
Journal of Food Biochemistry

This study indicated the effectiveness of cinnamon in women with PCOS. Patients reported to have improved blood glucose levels and lipid profiles.

Javad Heshmati, Mahdi Sepidarkish, Mojgan Morvaridzadeh, Farnaz Farsi, Nishant Tripathi, Maryam Razavi, Mahroo Rezaeinejad Full Article


2020, May 29

Effectiveness of acupuncture in polycystic ovary syndrome

There was insufficient evidence to support that acupuncture could promote live birth, pregnancy, and ovulation. However, acupuncture could promote the recovery of menstrual cycles as well as downregulate the levels of LH and testosterone in patients with PCOS.

Wu J, Chen D, Liu N Full Article


2018, Oct

Oriental herbal medicine and moxibustion for polycystic ovary syndrome

According to current evidence, OHM combined with moxibustion might be beneficial for treating PCOS. Moreover, the treatment might improve the therapeutic effects of conventional WMs including clomiphene citrate, oral contraceptives, and/or metformin. However, the findings should be interpreted with caution, owing to poor methodological quality of the included studies. Further larger, high-quality, rigorous RCTs should be conducted in this regard.

Kwon, Chan-Young, Lee, Boram, Park, Kyoung Sun Full Article

Acupuncture in Medicine

2017, Jun 1

Effectiveness of acupuncture in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome undergoing in vitro fertilisation or intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Acupuncture in Medicine British Medical Acupuncture Society

This review indicated that acupuncture may increase the clinical pregnancy rate and ongoing pregnancy rate and decrease the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) in women with PCOS undergoing IVF or ICSI.

Jo, J., & Lee, Y. J. Full Article


2017, Jun

Acupuncture for polycystic ovarian syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis

This systematic review and meta-analysis suggests that the evidence base for the use of acupuncture for improving ovulation and menstruation rates and other hormonal changes in women with PCOS is weak. Given the poor reporting and methodological flaws of existing studies, large-scale, long-term RCTs with rigorous methodological input are needed to clarify the role of acupuncture in this population.

Jo, J., Lee, Y. J., & Lee, H. Full Article

European Journal of Integrative Medicine

2016, Feb

The effects of acupuncture on polycystic ovary syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis
European Journal of Integrative Medicine

This article highlighted the efficacy of acupuncture in significant improvements decrease in BMI and LH in women with PCOS.

Qu F, Wu Y, Hu XY, Barry JA, Zhou J, Wang FF, Ye YH, Zhang R, Han SP, Han JS, Li R, Taw MB, Hardiman PJ, Robinson N Full Article

American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism

2013, May 1

Acupuncture for ovulation induction in polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial
American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism American Physiological Society

This research showcased that repeated acupuncture treatments result in a higher ovulation frequency in lean/overweight women with PCOS and are more effective than the attention and time involved in the meeting with a therapist.

Johansson J, Redman L, Veldhuis PP, Sazonova A, Labrie F, Holm G, Johannsson G, Stener-Victorin E. Full Article

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