Polycystic Ovary Syndrome


It is thought that PCOS affects 1 in 10 women of reproductive age and it is something that I increasingly come across in clinic. Rather like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) has been used to define any digestive disorder, PCOS seems to be used to define any ovaries that have the appearance of cysts. Ovulatory problems are actually the biggest cause of infertility in the UK, despite reports in the media that tend to focus solely on age as the cause of infertility. This can often make younger women who may well have been trying to conceive since their 20’s feel frustrated and isolated. The main problems traditionally associated with PCOS are menstrual cycle disturbances, including irregular or absent periods, weight gain, excess hair growth and skin conditions. Increasingly though I see slim women who often have a history of over exercising and excessive weight loss suffering from PCOS. PCOS is often a tricky condition to treat but we get good results from combining acupuncture with dietary advice. In line with our ethos of integrated health we work collaboratively with a number of medical experts in this field and have many years of experience and success in supporting women with this condition. The Mind and PCOS Frustration, irritability and depression are all signs that the Qi energy of the body, in particular the Liver, is Stagnant and congested which may affect the release of an egg. Feelings of anguish or anxiety particularly affect the heart energy, which may also delay ovulation since in Chinese Medicine theory the Heart is very much connected to our reproductive systems. So in any program that is supporting PCOS it is very important to support yourself emotionally and reduce any stress or anxiety. I often say to patients “there are 2 kinds of stress, stress that we can not avoid and stress of our own making”. Stress of our own making is the stress that you need to reduce; this is actually the most damaging stress. Research demonstrates that when we worry about being stressed this causes more harm to the system than say the stress of getting to work or the stress caused by external influences. Acupuncture is the perfect tool to help you address these issues and reduce the impact of stress on the body/mind system. A Word about Sugar I will never forget more than 25 years ago Professor Wu saying to me “sugar makes the ovaries cystic”; back then I did not have the experience to really understand the mechanism behind his words. But now all these years later I believe there is so much wisdom in this statement. My generation lived on a diet of Chardonnay and Haribos in a bid to not eat fat! As we all know, this information turned out to be misguided and is a perfect recipe for causing hormonal imbalances and yes, cystic ovaries. Thankfully the message is getting out there and these days there is much more awareness around food, but it is important to remember that skipping meals, drinking juices and consuming excessive alcohol all disrupt the hormonal system and will add to the problem. And as Prof Wu would say “eat little and regularly, chew your food well, eat mostly food that grows from the earth, eat the majority of your food early in the day and most importantly, eat with joy in your heart.”