Electro-Acupuncture for PCOS 2


PCOS is one of the most common causes of infertility.   Besides lifestyle treatments such as diet changes and exercise there is little medicine has to offer because it is usually treated with hormones.   For many women the side effects of these hormones can be worse than the PCOS!    The study below demonstrated that acupuncture is an effective treatment modality for PCOS when used with electrostim.  I use this often in my office and there is very little pain from it.   In fact to be effective and not harmful electro stim should be comfortable.
So consider acupuncture (and Chinese herbal medicine) as very effective tools for treating PCOS.   I always say that Chinese Medicine has a lot more to offer for GYN hormonal imbalances than western medicine, except if surgery is required.  There is a 2000 year written history for the most common GYN issues that are often met with drugs that can cause further imbalances.
============ Article Abstract below ===============
Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Jan;300(1):E37-45. Epub 2010 Oct 13.

Impact of electro-acupuncture and physical exercise on hyperandrogenism and oligo/amenorrhea in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial.

Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the most common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age, is characterized by hyperandrogenism, oligo/amenorrhea, and polycystic ovaries. We aimed to determine whether low-frequency electro-acupuncture (EA) would decrease hyperandrogenism and improve oligo/amenorrhea more effectively than physical exercise or no intervention. We randomized 84 women with PCOS, aged 18-37 yr, to 16 wk of low-frequency EA, physical exercise, or no intervention. The primary outcome measure changes in the concentration of total testosterone (T) at week 16 determined by gas and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry was analyzed by intention to treat. Secondary outcome measures were changes in menstrual frequency; concentrations of androgens, estrogens, androgen precursors, and glucuronidated androgen metabolites; and acne and hirsutism. Outcomes were assessed at baseline, after 16 wk of intervention, and after a 16-wk follow-up. After 16 wk of intervention, circulating T decreased by -25%, androsterone glucuronide by -30%, and androstane-3?,17?-diol-3-glucuronide by -28% in the EA group (P = 0.038, 0.030, and 0.047, respectively vs. exercise); menstrual frequency increased to 0.69/month from 0.28 at baseline in the EA group (P = 0.018 vs. exercise). After the 16-wk follow-up, the acne score decreased by -32% in the EA group (P = 0.006 vs. exercise). Both EA and exercise improved menstrual frequency and decreased the levels of several sex steroids at week 16 and at the 16-wk follow-up compared with no intervention. Low-frequency EA and physical exercise improved hyperandrogenism and menstrual frequency more effectively than no intervention in women with PCOS. Low-frequency EA was superior to physical exercise and may be useful for treating hyperandrogenism and oligo/amenorrhea.

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2 thoughts on “Electro-Acupuncture for PCOS

  • Demetra Moore, DC

    Dr. Mandler,

    One of my patients recently inquired about acupuncture and PCOS. This protocol seems to have worked very well. Would you be able to share with me what acupuncture points were used in this particular study?

    Warm regards,

    Dee Moore

    • gmandler Post author

      Hello Dr Moore
      Thanks for your question. The treatments were western based following a protocol which IMO is the failure of Western medicine. All protocol which is the so called EBV model. Attempting to fit properly practiced acupuncture or Chinese medicine in the western research paradigm is impossible. There is no individual consideration in the treatment used for this study and I never treat my PCOS patients this way. (in addition to PCOS being an endocrine disorder of multiple phenotypes). With that said the protocol is below:

      Western medical acupuncture (16) was given twice weekly for 2 wk, once weekly for 6 wk, and once every other week for 8 wk, for a total of 14 treatments over 16 wk, by a registered physical therapist (E. Jedel) educated in theoretical and practical acupuncture at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. The acupuncture protocol was based on our studies of acupuncture in PCOS (8, 25), experimental studies (21), and our clinical experience in treating women with PCOS. Acupuncture points and electrical stimulation were the same for all women in the low-frequency EA group, as described previously (23). Disposable, single-use, sterilized needles made of stainless steel (Hegu Xeno, Hegu, Landsbro, Sweden; length 30/50 mm, diameter 0.32 mm) were inserted to a depth of 15–35 mm in segmental acupuncture points located in abdominal muscles with innervations corresponding to the ovaries (7), conception vessel (CV) 3, CV 6, and stomach (ST) 29 bilaterally and in the muscles below the knee, spleen (SP) 6, and SP 9 bilaterally. Needles were also placed in extrasegmental acupuncture points that do not innervate the ovaries, alternating between muscles in the hand and/or lower arm; large intestine (LI) 4, or pericardium (PC) 6 bilaterally. All needles were stimulated manually (de qi) once when inserted. CV 3, CV 6, ST 29, SP 6, and SP 9 were stimulated electrically with low-frequency EA of 2 Hz (CEFAR ACUS 4; Cefar-Compex Scandinavia, Malmö, Sweden) for 30 min at each treatment; the intensity was adjusted to produce local muscle contractions without pain or discomfort. LI 4/PC 6 was stimulated manually by rotating the needle to evoke needle sensation every 10 min.