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Acupuncture for PCOS

I was recently asked by one lovely lady to look into the benefits of using acupuncture with PCOS. Now, this strays a little bit away from my usual PCOS Diet posts but I have to say that I was intrigued and decided it was worth investigating.

You see, I have a medical background and have been well-trained to look for the evidence and reasoning behind things. In my Westernised, medical mind, acupuncture has never been on my radar.[blockquote align=”right”]In my Westernised, medical mind, acupuncture has never been on my radar[/blockquote]

So when I was asked to do some research, I couldn’t help myself. I needed to know the ins and outs of why acupuncture could be beneficial for PCOS and whether I have been missing out on something that could help me. I found a lot of information, too much for one post. So, this will be done over two posts. To really understand the benefits of acupuncture for PCOS, we’re going to need to get a little medical and dig deeper so bear with me.

Here is what I found:

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What is acupuncture?

According to Wikipedia, “Acupuncture is a collection of procedures which involves the stimulation of points on the body using a variety of techniques, such as penetrating the skin with needles that are then manipulated manually or by electrical stimulation.” (1)

It is a traditional Chinese medicine that is based on the belief that any illness or pain is caused by a blockage in the flow of vital energy or “qi”. Acupuncturists insert needles into specific acupuncture points in an attempt to unblock the flow of qi and restore balance to the body.  (2)

There is no scientific evidence that qi exists or that the body has meridians or acupuncture points. But, there is research that proves that acupuncture is more effective than a placebo.

So, clearly acupuncture must do something to the body, but what? How does acupuncture work?

Which type of acupuncture for PCOS?

From what I have read in the medical research, the type of acupuncture most frequently spoken of is electro-acupuncture. This is when a small electric current is sent through the needle into the muscle. Two needles are used so that a circuit is set up. The current is a continuous pulsating current and is applied for no more than 30 minutes. Also, more than two needles can be stimulated at any given time. (3)

How does it help PCOS?

diagramFrom what I understand, there seem to be two ways in which acupuncture helps women with PCOS.

Okay, this is going to get Geeky but we need to understand some things about the body to understand how acupuncture works.

The needle is inserted into the skin and underlying muscle. The needle and electric stimulation causes the muscle to send information to the brain, via the spinal cord. If the needle is inserted into the area that sends sensory information about the ovary to the brain, it leads to a decrease in the release of male hormones from the ovaries.

And we know that these androgens or male hormones are responsible for a lot of our symptoms of PCOS.

The other way that acupuncture work is by acting on the system in the brain that releases hormones or the neuroendocrine system. It leads to a decrease in the release of luteinizing hormone which again leads to a decrease in the release of male hormones from the ovaries. (4)

Summing it Up

Acupuncture for PCOSSo, this sounding good! We’re saying that acupuncture can ultimately work on our hormone or endocrine system and directly on our ovaries to lower the release of male hormones which will lead to an improvement in our PCOS symptoms.

I’m almost tempted to try it, if only if it weren’t for my massive fear of needles! In the next article, we’ll look more closely at how often you should go, how long the treatment will take and we’ll also have a look at what the research says in terms of success rates and improvements in hormones.

This is a very high level overview of how things work. If you’re a bit of a geek like me and want more detailed information, we can jump down the rabbit hole and go into a deeper explanation. Just leave me a comment below and we can have more of a discussion about it!

Also, if you have tried acupuncture to manage your PCOS, I would love to hear from you! Please leave me a comment below letting me know if you loved it or hated it and if you feel that it helped your symptoms!

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Tarryn Poulton

Tarryn Poulton

Tarryn Poulton is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and PCOS expert who has been a leader in the online PCOS space for over 8 years. Tarryn has the support of leading clinicians from around the world who support her scientific approach to understanding and talking about PCOS this includes all medical journals and ongoing research. You can read more about Tarryn and the team here.

Table of Contents

137 Responses

137 Responses

  1. It’s my 2nd month Iv been doin my acupuncture no positive results my major issue is weight it’s not losing n I’m nt maried yt

    1. Fatemah, how frequently have you had treatment during these 2 months? If it is once a week, adding up to 8 treatments in total and you have no results at all, that is very unusual. You should discuss it with your practitioner, and perhaps consider trying a different practitioner. With respect to weight, it depends on your initial body weight, and your expectations. It is reasonable to expect to lose 10% of total bodyweight over a period of 6 months. So if you start with 60 kilos, it is reasonable to expect to lose around 6 kilos in 6 months (this is a very general estimate- in practice, it can be a little faster or a little slower than this, but if it is much faster- then the results are usually not sustainable in the long-term).

  2. Went through 7 years of infertility due to pcos. Did acupuncture and got pg after 4-5 weeks of treatment. Then tried for 2nd child 4 years. When I did not achieve pregnancy the second time I did accupuncture again and was pregnant within 5-6 weeks.

      1. Smita, oral medicine in the context of acupuncture, means Chinese herbal medicine. Clinically, if you take Chinese herbal medicine at the same time as acupuncture you should get faster results, but then there are numerous issues; some people are more nervous about taking herbal medicines than about receiving acupuncture, other people don’t like the taste of the medicine. I would say that one of the most significant potential problems is that a lot of Chinese medicine shops are rather pushy about prescribing herbal medicines, because they make more profit from these than they do from acupuncture. Some patients may have had this kind of experience, and that may put them off herbal medicine. In any case I would never advise anybody seeking treatment to walk into one of those places on the high street, unless you have a specific recommendation (from a friend etc) to see a particular doctor that works there. Then rents for high street shops are astronomical, and nobody makes that kind of money in our field, if they are honest practitioners.

        1. Hi Eric,

          Is it possible to seek only acupuncture treatment for PCOS , like you said I don’t like the herbal medicines. I’m 28 & diagnosed with PCOS since 2012. I’m getting married soon & wish to have a regular period.

          Thanks.

    1. PJ, those are excellent results. We usually recommend starting (weekly) treatment 3 to 6 months before trying to conceive. 4-6 weeks is a a very fast result, I’m pleased for you.

  3. I do acupuncture 2*week and its been more than 2 months. when i started it i got my period by the 4 treatment but after that its been almost 60 days and i still have not got my period. I have pcos and i was wondering if this happened to anyone else? Do i need to change my doctor as i am ttc.

    1. I go for acupuncture once a week and have been doing so for 4 months. It helps me tremendously for my anxiety but so for I have only had my period once since starting. I get it on average still only once every 4-5 months. It has yet to regulate for me.

    2. Hi, this can happen and don’t worry is actually often more positive than negative. It can mean that your body is building on its hormone and blood reserve to give you a strong balanced period next time around. So do the worry it will come for you!

  4. When I first diagnosed with PCOS last summer, my OB/GYN actually recommended acupuncture to see if it helped. So I did my research and found a very credible acupuncturist covered by my insurance and began seeing him about once a week. I was very sceptical, but almost immediately my period came, and they began to be extremely regular. (Before this, they were anywhere from a couple weeks to many months apart.) I loved the treatment and found it super relaxing. Once I stopped (for completely unrelated reasons), my periods once again became irregular. We are thinking about TTC soon, so I’ll probably get more acupuncture soon, as my hubby and I noticed the huge difference that it made (and he’s a scientist, so he’s naturally very sceptical of these things!).

    1. Just had to leave a comment because I have never met or seen anyone with my same name before! Never have been able to say hello Azalee before!!

  5. Thanks for the great page. I too suffered for a long time until trying acupuncture to help my PCOS. I tried a few different places but didn’t get fantastic changes. A friend of mine recommended this cute little place in Kingsford called Wholisitic Natural Medicine I think their website is wnmed.com.au . Anway, they were BRILLIANT and I couldn’t be happier! (well maybe if I didn’t need it in the first place 😉 ). So my advise is if at first the acu doesn’t work for you find another place!

  6. Hi Tarryn,

    Thanks so much for sharing your research findings with us. I recently heard about acupuncture treatment being fruitful for treating PCOS and helping with conception and have been browsing the internet to study this in depth. I have had PCOS since the onset of menstruation 10 years ago but was recently officially diagnosed with it. I don’t want to jump start the whole fertility treatment right now because we’ve only been married a year. So I feel more inclined to do natural treatments before going the other route. Can you give me some sense as to how long I need to do acupuncture for and if there would be any side effects in the short/long term. Sorry I get too nervous about any kind of medical treatments and procedures and their impact on my body which is why I still havent jumped on the pill wagon to regulate my cycle.

    Thanks so much!

    Sarah

  7. I have been doing accupucture for more than 3 months now. Acne and hair browth is much better; and I feel good. However, I still don’t have my period and it will soon be a year since I stopped the pill. My acupuncturist says it will come, but I’ve had 6 sessions so far and nothing. What worries me is that I always went after 2 or 2.5 weeks, never weekly as others have been mentioning. Could this have made a difference? Should I switch acupuncturists?

    1. It sounds like you are doing well. It usually takes a minimum of 3 period cycles to get reasonable results with regulating periods. But I would say it’s highly likely that the rather slow results in your case are because of the treatment schedule. Once every two weeks is really unusual, I have never really heard of anybody doing that. If the gap between treatments is too long (and two weeks is too long) then the treatment loses momentum and it is like rolling a stone half way up a hill and then letting it roll down again. I don’t think you necessarily need to switch acupuncturists if you are comfortable with the one you have, but you should definitely go for treatment once a week. Whose idea was the treatment schedule, yours or theirs? Because if it was their idea, then I would question how far they know what they are doing, because a weekly treatment schedule is a very basic principle. In fact, in China treatment is almost always several times a week, but of course in China everything is less expensive. Some acupuncturists are afraid to tell patients to come more often because it costs more and they are afraid of scaring the patient away with the cost. But the truth is that if you are only going once every two weeks you are probably throwing that money away anyway, and you are certainly wasting your time. It is the acupuncturists duty to tell the patient roughly how many treatments they need, and how much that will cost, and if the patient cannot or will not bear the expense then that is a matter for them. But it is unethical to pretend that less frequent (and thus less expensive) treatment will be equally effective, it will not.

      1. The two weeks interval was not my idea – I was never told it should be more frequent. It’s true that I asked for late appointments (I work and his practice is not nearby) but I was never told I should make the effort to have more frequent sessions. If he had told me that, I would have done it and who cares about work if it was to get my health back. I’m pretty upset about this now. You’re right, I’ve wasted my money…I even had 3.5 weeks between two appointments after missing one because of something that was outside my control. When I called to inform them they said that I should reschedule but the next one couldn’t be before much later. I didn’t appreciate that, he could have stayed a bit later one day for one patient.

        Do you think I should continue with my sessions with him every 2 weeks now, or should I find someone else and re-start a more frequent treatment? Is it worth it? As I said I’m really seeing results on my skin now, though still no period.

        1. Mira, try not to be too upset. It sounds like the treatments have not been entirely without positive effects, but you know the problem with acupuncture is that it is very forgiving- by which I mean that even someone with very, very basic knowledge can produce SOME results. But in a way, that is not always a good thing; it might be better if a mediocre practitioner produced NO results, because then the patient would discontinue treatment with them sooner, thus saving themselves time, money, and above all -hope.

          The answer to your question depends on how easily you can find a new practitioner. Try to get a personal recommendation if you can, and ignore the advice on the internet to judge a practitioner by what professional body they belong to- that doesn’t mean anything. Actually the professional body with the best PR has the worst practitioners, but the average patient would never know that. But, in my professional opinion, anybody who fails to tell you that one acupuncture treatment every two weeks is almost useless (unless you are also taking chinese herbs)- is either negligent, fraudulent or just stupid. It reminds of those taxi drivers who get you to your destination, but by the longest most circuitous route that they possible can, so that they can charge you more money. Some of the do it because they are dishonest, but some of are not dishonest, they just don’t have a good sense of direction. But the end result is the same- you suffer.

          Don’t despair though, acupuncture is a great treatment for PCOS.The general standard in the profession is not very high I’m afraid, but there are some gems out there, I’m sure you’ll find one of them. If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Best of Luck !

    2. Hi Mira,
      I have just started acupuncture 6 weeks ago. The acupuncturist explained to me that for women with PCOS, it has proved more successful to have treatments no more than 5 days apart for the first 6 months or so. This is what i have been having, and after 3 weeks i got my first period. I hadn’t had periods for a very long time.
      I have the electo-acupuncture, which the acupuncturist said helps gain results faster in over weight (which I am) women with PCOS.
      Hope this helps.
      Caz

  8. Hi,
    I have PCOS and have taken just enough medicines and got several tests, all telling me one thing that my chances for conception are bleak (non-existent) since PCOS cant be treated. After many frustrating years only today I visited an Acupuncture specialist, and she said PCOS CAN be treated. I want to thank all the posts here; I now feel better prepared to face the needles!

    I will surely share my experience once my first treatment cycle is done.

    Hope Floats 🙂

  9. Hi all!!
    Thos post and the comments are so helpful! Thank you all so much for sharing all these informations.
    I am 38 and struggle against PCOS since 15, with ups and downs. Since last year I stopped the pill cause my husband and I want to have a baby. Since then my periods almost disappeared and my regular doctor sent me to a fertility center to treat it in order to get pregnant (I live in Denmark). In the center after lots of exams and the confirmation of PCOS, the doctors recommended me to do a hormonal stimulation. As I prefer alternative medicine methods, I started acupuntur. My doctor is chinese, with a very very extensive education and experience in acupuntur. He told me we would need from 6 to 8 weeks of weekly sessions.
    I have just had the 8th session and nothing has happened!! No periods, no weight loss…
    I am getting very frustrated now as I haven’t seen any improvement so far (omg,and I have spent a lot of money as these treatments are very expensive here in DK).
    I am writing to share my experience and ask for advices. Should I quit? Anyone knows how long an acupuntur treatment can take for giving any improvement??
    Thanks and good luck for everyone

    1. Iracema, 8 sessions without any result is not normal at all. My advice is to change your doctor but do not quit acupuncture, it’s a very good treatment for fertility/PCOS. For other conditions (not related to menstruation), if I get no result within 3 treatments then I send the patient to another doctor or advise them to try a different treatment (in 10 years, this has only happened to me once). I am very surprised that your doctor hasn’t told you this, after 8 sessions with no result. To treat fertility with acupuncture, it is first necessary to regulate the period- in order to regulate the period, it usually takes around 3 full cycles to show good results. BUT, that doesn’t mean that nothing happens for 3 months and then something suddenly happens. It means that the results will gradual increase until they accumulate after approximately 3 months. Like a snowball rolling down a hill is first small and then gets bigger and bigger. Something like that. So change your doctor ! Good Luck.

  10. Thank you Tarryn for your article on Acupuncture. It makes me very happy to see more and more people learn about acupuncture and how it can help. I am an acupuncturist in San Francisco and I specialize in fertility. I have had much success helping woman get pregnant. I often here that people are curious about acupuncture but they have a fear of needles. Who wouldn’t with the size of hypodermic needles?
    However acupuncture needles are tiny, actually you can fit 15 acupuncture needles in a hypodermic needle. They really are tiny, hair thin. Most of the time people do not feel anything, sometimes it feels like a bug bite, rarely does it ever hurt to make you go ouch!
    I highly suggest everyone try acupuncture at least once for the experience, not only will it help your condition but it will also help relax and rejuvenate your body and mind. Thank you again Tarryn for bringing acupuncture to the light 🙂

  11. Hi, I started seeing a fertility homeopath after a sudden PCOS diagnosis while trying to conceive, and subsequently two failed clomid attempts with one miscarriage. I wanted to get pregnant, but also new I wanted to do it naturally and my first priority was getting my body right to accept and sustain a fertilised egg.
    At the time, my cycles were long and unpredictable (60-70 days). Once I had made the decision to fall pregnant naturally, I changed my diet, following the PCOS principles strictly and saw my homeopath every two weeks. She would do acupuncture on my lower abdomen, legs and feet, prescribe herbal and homeopathic medications (Dr Collins) to regulate my hormones and use light and laser stimulation over my abdomen. Each session was completely relaxing and informative about why things were not working as they should. (I had what she called a deficiency PCOS where the body was just not able to produce enough hormone to get a good ovulaton.)
    By my third cycle I found out I was pregnant when my cycle went on for longer than it should have and I took a pregnancy test to confirm. I am now 33 weeks pregnant with a baby girl and couldn’t be happier that it happened without the usual ‘infertility’ intervention!

  12. I am a 20 year old girl who has struggled with PCOS for about 5 years now. It’s been really hard on me being so young and having all the symptoms. My mom is really into natural healing and had me go to acupuncture this year. It had helped me so much. I have started to get my periods regularly on my own and my weight hasn’t been up amd down so much. It doesnt fix everything but it definitely helps!

  13. So I came off of the pill in October 2014– since then I have had only two periods. One on my own and one with the help of provera. I was diagnosed last month with pcos and the dr said I can either get back on the pill to regulate everything again or wait it out. Since we are ttc I am waiting it out.. I have to wait the mandatory 12 months until fertility treatment options are presented so in the meantime I’m exploring all the natural remedies that I can. I went to my first acupuncture treatment yesterday and I have felt crampy off and on all day.. I’m hoping this is a start of another period! I’ll keep you posted!

  14. My husband and I have been TTC for almost 5yrs I was diagnosed with PCOS we tried every herbalists/naturopath well known for Fertility and no luck not even a sign of a period. November 2014 I looked in Traditional Chinese Medicine and decided to give it a go once a week acupuncture and herbs and thank goodness I did I instantly got my period and have had them monthly and happy to say we are 6wks pregnant.

    After all the failures one thing worked for my PCOS acupuncture, Chinese’s herbs and the standard vitamins. I highly recommend it.

      1. don’t pay more than £50. Even if a practitioner normally charges more than £50, they should lower their fee for fertility treatments, because fertility patients usually need around 3 months of treatment to have the best change of conceiving (and practitioners don’t usually get 12 weeks worth of guaranteed income, so to charge more than £50 for something like that is very greedy in my opinion). Also, very few practitioners in the UK are skilful enough to justifiably charge astronomical fees. On a related note, don’t let anybody tell you that you need LESS than 3 months of weekly treatment (I treated someone recently who had been told by another practitioner that she only needed 3 treatments in total !) There are numerous cases where the patient gets pregnant in less than 3 months but they are not typical. Also, in cases where IVF is concerned, I would advise having 6 months of treatment. Obviously the expense of that is significant, but it is still far cheaper than IVF, if you are paying for it, and if you are having IVF on the NHS, then clearly there are a limited number of cycles that you are entitled to, so you probably will want to make the most of them.

  15. Hi,
    I got diagnosed with PCOS back in November since then i have had acupuncture once a week since. My last session I had the electronic current running through the needles which was back in the middle of December. I haven’t had a session since then and have had my first period this week since March last year. I can safely say acupuncture will be a weekly appointment for myself. My mum also went through the same thing when she was my age and acupuncture cured her too! I just hope it will make my cycle regular! And help me to lose weight.

    Bethany

  16. I was DX with PCOS at age 25 (now 38) and after a few years trying various drugs and supplements, found acupuncture and herbs. I was a faithful patient of chinese medicine for several years, and got off all western medications. After several years my PCOS is in total remission. My insulin resistance is under control, my very high DHEA and Free Testosterone levels are in normal range and most astonishing the tons of cysts in my ovaries are gone. This affected me so profoundly that I quit my career of 15 years and went back to school to obtain a Master’s Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. I finish this 4 year program in a week. It’s been a long road but I hope to help other women with these types of problems as I was helped. A good rule of thumb for people in wondering how many treatments is that PCOS is a chronic condition and chronic conditions won’t be turned around in one or two treatments, like anything else it’s a commitment, in the beginning I went once a week or every other week, for well over a year, but now that the condition is totally under control, I only go once a month for maintenance. I recommend it to any woman who is suffering from this or any other gyn condition and is not finding answers or relief from Western Medicine. It works miracles. I have literally bet my life on it…….soon to be licensed acupuncturist!!!

    1. Hello DD…. I don’t speak english very well but I do read it quit well, so I will try to explain myself…..I understand acupuntura worked for you very well in treating PCOS, How long di it take? Did it help you lose weight?
      Congratulations for your acupunturist licence!!
      Gaby

  17. Hi, today I have found out that the doctor didnt tell me despite my problems, that i have pcos (long story), but I have good experience with acupuncture in the way that it had help me to restart my period. I had been tired of all the injections that I needed to get to get my period, so I tried acupuncture and for a long long time nothing happened – I was afraid to tell it to my Chinese doctor, but when I did he changed the points, where he put the needless and without any expectations I went home and..next day I got my period after more that 6 months.

    As for acupuncture itself, it balanced my moods and the rules of traditional Chinese medicine for a healthy diet and lifestyle are priceless.

    Nowadays I have no money to continue in my acupuncture treatment, but I recommed it to everyone, who can do that, also in the case of womens´ issues, as for pcos.

    All the best,

    Miroslava

  18. Hi, I was diagnose with PCOS about 6 years ago. My gyno also suspects endometriosis, but is not confirmed. For the last 1.5 months I have eliminated about 80% gluten/wheat from my diet and almost as much dairy! Cut out a lot of sugar, eat less and more often. I expected to lose a lot of weight but only dropped about 6 lbs. (I need to lose about 70) I’m so frustrated, not to mention confused! It has got to be from my hormones! I have pretty regular periods but only ovulate a couple times a year. I ditched the b.c. 3 years ago. Best decision of my life! I am going to give this a try!!! Thanks for the post!

    1. Depends where you live. In London it ranges from £30 to £300, but the average is £50. £300 is a crazy price, and few practitioners are skilful enough to be worth more than £40, so I would aim for that. If you go much below £40, then frankly I would worry about how that practitioner is covering their costs- maybe they are planning to try and sell you some herbs you don’t need. Or maybe they are just a really nice and charitable person. But generally speaking, around £40 is what most reasonable people charge.

  19. Hello! All these comments have been so helpful (as has the article)
    I was recently diagnosed with pcos and after ten years on the pill and in my first year off my skin is for the first time bad. It’s all around my chin which I know is hormonal.
    I really want to give acupuncture a go along with trying other natural remedies such as wild yam.

    Can anyone recommend a really good acupuncturist I’m London?

    It’s so hard to know who to go see and having no experience with this I could really do with some suggestions for trusted practitioners.
    Many thanks,
    Leah

    1. If I were you I would try to ask friends and people you know for a personal recommendation. Don’t just walk into one of those Chinese places on the high street. If you can’t get a personal recommendation, then go somewhere that offers a free consultation so you can see if you like/trust the person, and if what they tell you sounds reasonable (AcuMedic in Camden offers free consultations, have been around for thirty years and treated Princess Diana for an undisclosed condition several years ago. I have used them myself and sent many members of my friends and family to them but other than that, have no relationship with them) Don’t let anyone sell you a package of however many treatments, take it session by session. You will need a minimum of six or so treatments to get significant results (so if they tell you that, don’t worry, it is not a scam), but if you just pay for each session as you go along, you have the flexibility to discontinue treatment if for whatever reason you don’t like it. Good luck.

  20. Hello forum,

    All of your comments (and the article that prompted them) have been extremely helpful.

    I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 20 after choosing to stop taking the pill. I quickly developed cystic acne and hair growth and had NO idea what was happening to me. I went to a dermatologist to address the acne and then back to my gynecologist who put me back on birth control to help regulate hormones.

    I am just about to turn 30 and am ready to get off the pill! But I am nervous as I have no idea how my body will respond. I will say, I am hopeful based on your comments. I have been doing acupuncture now for 5 weeks, originally aimed at addressing some knee pain and digestive issues (excessive phlegm). I have a GREAT acupuncture team (a mom and son) who are very helpful each time I come in. We discuss if I am experiencing improvements (or not) and adjust the number of needles and locations based on that.

    Only today, after 5 weeks of weekly sessions, did my long-term issues with PCOS come up and they are sure they can help treat it. I am now researching how acupuncture can help with treating my PCOS in the future. I am looking to get off the pill sometime this year and hopefully my husband and I will try to get pregnant sometime in the foreseeable future.

    My question is this: Can you still experience the benefits of acupuncture addressing PCOS while on the pill? Or should I begin my acupuncture treatments after I’ve been off the pill for a little while?

    Thanks for your help.

    1. The effectiveness of acupuncture treatment is not affected by taking the contraceptive pill per se, but since the contraceptive pill can alter or suppress menstrual bleeding, it does interfere with important diagnostic information (the specific features of an individual’s woman’s menstrual cycle are important for an acupuncture diagnosis- and a clear diagnosis is important for a successful treatment). However a skilful practitioner does have other sources of diagnostic information they can draw on, so it is not compulsory to stop taking the pill while having acupuncture treatment. You should probably negotiate this with the people who are treating you. It is interesting that you mention being diagnosed with Phlegm by your acupuncturists, before you mentioned PCOS to them. In Chinese Medicine, PCOS almost always involves a condition of excess Phlegm. And it always involves another condition, which can lead to knee pain (but only if the pain involves both knees).

  21. Dear All,

    I am currently 34 years old and have had PCOS since I was a teenager, with hardly any natural cycles except when taking anti-baby pills (which from the hindsight was not a good option, given the hormone content) between age 20 and 25. After quitting the “anti-baby pills”, I quit having my period. However, i did not want to take any medicine as was afraid of doing harm to my body in the long-run.

    At age 26 I started acupuncture treatments, supplemented with homeopathic remedies, foot massage and yumeiho massage. I also started to do regular liver cleansing (with salty water) bi-weekly and later every 3 months.
    Initially I had weekly acupunture and foot massage treatments and after about 15 sessions we moved to bi-weekly then monthly sessions. It took a while till we reached real results but the benefits all came gradually.
    Initially, my skin got a lot worse, I had lots of really bad spots for a few months- that was probably to do with the anti-toxication of the anti-baby pills, etc I took beforehand. But after the few months, my skin got nice and clean of spots and I started to have periods – initially only for a couple of days and not proper periods but it got better and better until we reached having 28-31 day-cycles and proper natural cycles.

    Acupuncture and homeopathy helped me greatly with all my symptoms and with having natural cycles. However, I believe the solution is the combination of the following:

    – acupuncture and homeopathy to stimulate organs part of the hormonal sytem, ovaries, etc and through this to help set the natural cycles
    – no sugar, low carb diet – despite having regular cycles, I still find myself having insuline resistancy (IR) / low blood sugar symptoms when eating carbs by themselves, eg eating a cake or anything sugary or even eating 2 oranges by themselves; however when eating healthy (vegetables with low carb content, fish, meat) and combining carbs with protein, I don’t have any of the IR symptoms; For me what works best is the paleolit nutrition (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic_diet)
    – regular sports!! I swim regularly and do ashtanga yoga 3 times a week – yoga is really great for PCOS as well!! it helps me with IR greatly and ensures a good function of the hormonal system, ensures balance in mind and body

    I hope I helped with my lenghty comment – I wish you all good health and a great improvement!!

    1. thanx for ur lengthy comment.was so helpful can i hav somemore information hw long u went through ur accupuncture treatment to get regular ur period. and it helps to get conceive? i jt started accupunture treatment.so ur valuable comment giv belief for me..

  22. Hi everyone,

    I was diagnosed in June with PCOS after skipping my period for the first time. It was usually regular but only light AF for 3 days.

    I starte on acupuncture in July and August and my cycle came back it also helped with the pain. I stopped because the doctor had no experience with fertility and said i wouldn’t have children.

    In November the ovulation pain was so bad I had to come home from work. I immediately searched for a clinic that specialised in fertility. I’ve had two treatments so far and the new clinic has a special program for PCOS and I can go three times per week for $90. I am hopeful. I want to conceive and be pain free. I am also trying the herbs. The ladies are gentle and they seem to genuinely care rather then being concerned about money.

  23. HI
    i was dignosed with PCOS 3 years ago and i was looking into acupuncture years ago but i was not incouraged to do so but after reading your ladies post i am on a mission lol. I only get menses once every 6 months so hopefully this will help me alot 🙂 finger crossed and baby dust for every one who trying to get pregnant 🙂
    Thanks everyone

  24. Hi
    I was diagnosed in 1995 with pcos.(I was 16) NO MENSES unless drug induced. I conceived my daughter on fert drugs when I was 25. I am now 34 and using acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Since I started 9 months ago I have had my first natural periods not one BUT FOUR! I seem to be on a 50ish day cycle(still off but a loooong way from where I was) The goal is to become pregnant a more natural way. I have a issue with the needles and no I do not really enjoy it all that much. However I have almost no anxiety anymore and my body seems to be functioning better. My tummy actually feels softer and more even … I also have a great acupuncturist who is patient with me and my distaste for the needles.

  25. Hi

    I have been diagnosed with PCOS, high insulin level and enlarged fatty liver.
    As of my understanding from the doctor they’re all related.
    I’ve been reading on and on about other hormones related from your post and others, which made me confuse and ask my self do I have another hormone problem I should know about that the doctor didn’t tell me about?
    cause my doctor didn’t mention anything about having other hormones problem (except the insulin)
    Would definitely appreciate answers on that matter as I’m trying to learn more about my condition.

    Thank you, great post made me really consider going for acupuncture, just looking for a good clinic 🙂

    1. Hi Baby T

      I think your question is directed at someone else, so I will let them answer it, but I have a piece of advice to offer you if you are considering acupuncture and are confused about hormone problems that your doctor didn’t tell you about. If you visit an acupuncture practitioner, and even if you type in ‘acupuncture PCOS’ in Google, you are likely to offered information that will confuse you even more. So for example you may read, or you may be told by an acupuncturist, that you have ‘kidney deficiency’. That is fair enough, it is technical term in acupuncture but the point is that it is not the same as having a kidney problem in conventional medicine. It is far less severe. The reason for this difference is that they were not allowed to practice dissection in ancient China, so their medical system is not based on anatomy, and the function of the kidney in Chinese medicine is a quite different from the function of the kidney in modern medicine. So if you have weak knees, lower back pain, feel cold easily, get dizzy and have tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and get up in the night to go to the toilet, then this constellation of symptoms is called ‘kidney deficiency’ in Chinese medicine. It is not the same as kidney problems in normal medicine, which are usually more serious, so do not be alarmed if you come across something like this. Frankly, at this stage if I were you I would ignore this kind of technical information and just focus on finding someone you trust.

      The obvious starting place for finding someone you trust is getting a referral from someone else. If this is not possible, do some Google searches and start looking at websites. Ignore the design of the website, some of the very best practitioners have quite plain sites and some of the worst practitioners have very flashy ones. Look to see if they have a blog. If so, read it and see how you feel. See if they sound like someone you instinctively trust. If so, the next step is to call them or go and see them and chat to them. They should offer a free initial consultation but many don’t. Start with the ones that do. So that’s it really. Just two last points: don’t be seduced by which professional body they belong to, some professional bodies are very good at marketing and saying they are the best but the only evidence for that is that they say so. It is absolutely no guarantee of the quality of practitioner. Also be a little careful with review sites, it is often possible for practitioners to write their own reviews and they often do. Good luck.

      1. Hi Eric

        thank you for clarification, that’s why going to acupuncture is on hold until i find good clinic. 🙂

        i apologized for the confusion i made, i just wanted to know something, in my case the doctor told me i have high insulin level in my blood.
        My question is do i have other hormones problem? cause i read that male hormones are responsible of PCOS but the doctor didn’t mention that to me

        1. Hi Baby T,

          Women with PCOS do have issues processing insulin. But, high insulin levels often cause our testosterone levels to rise as well. It is also associated with other changes in hormone levels, particularly luteinzing hormone.

          I’m sorry that your doc didn’t give you more info. Let me know if you have any other questions!

          Tarryn

  26. Hi I have PCos for 10 years now we tried too many types of treatment including IVF with no results, I just found this website and I’m glad that I’m not alone in this battle! I will definitely try acupuncture and from the posts have read I’m pretty sure that it will help me as well! Thank you all

  27. Hi Tarryn,

    I almost feel bad for sending you message on here as by the looks of the reviews, you have A LOT to read through!

    I just wanted to say how helpful I found this article and how much I appreciated it. I am going for my first accupuncture treatment tomorrow (my cycles are 4/5 months apart, if at all!) Please wish me luck!

  28. Absolutely! I have Hirsutism and Acupuncture is all about getting the body to work better and get rid of toxins, so my Hirsutism has reduced because of it. The main thing that has helped is a low GI diet and no sugar. Sugar effects insulin and therefore is directly related to hormones and hair growth, sugar is bad! Good luck

    1. Yeah, Gina, I do. It helps to stabilise a lot of your hormones and so you should also see an improvement in your testosterone levels. It will take a lot of time though!

      Tarryn

  29. I am looking for acupunture to treat PCOS. My cycles are 50 days and more. I have been on meteforown for 6 years and all was well until the last two months. I recently put on 10 lbs and everything has changed. my weight is now 120 lbs a normal range for me.

  30. Hi Tarryn,

    I wanted to know if you could give an update on how things are going for you? I just went to my first Acupuncture appointment, I was diagnosed with PCOS in Jan 2013. I have been taking Provera to regulate my cycle, not TTC just want to get a normal flow going.

    Has Acupuncture worked for you? I really liked my session and I’m hopeful that it will help with my abnormal period!

    Thanks,
    Justine

  31. Hi I m taking homoepathic treatment for pcos
    Can I go for the acupuncture treatment in continuation with homoepathic treatment? I am suffering from pcos since 3 yars. What to do? Ps rply

    1. Hi Neha,

      I would speak to your homeopath or acupuncturist to make sure that it is okay to use both.

      Tarryn

  32. I currently have PCOS and I was diagnosed with it since I was 17 yrs old. I am 24 yrs old now. I have been under birthcontrol pills since and I only get my period if I take birthcontrol. I stopped the pills in December 2012 and ever since December I havent got my period. My dr. prescribed Metformin but no luck with periods or pregnancy. So she then prescribed me ACTOS which I havent started since the Side effect is weight gain. And im scared to gain more weight now. I decided to look into other medications because I feel overweight now at 162 pounds and i am only 5ft tall. I started Acupuncture as of yesterday and I am hoping to get my period back to normal and also help me get pregnant. They only started with needles in my legs, feet, hands and one in my head. Is that normal? Or will they be putting needles in my stomach too? Also, they are making me take this natural tea from Hong Kong that will help me even more.

    1. Mila,
      I am in your same boat right now. My doctor refuses to acknowledge my symptoms and refuses to give me Metformin. So this is why I am looking for something else to help me out. Did you find that acupuncture helped?

  33. Hi Tarryn,

    Thanks for this wonderful website. I am from India. I agree with Gina about ‘Shatavari'(Asparagus) herb. It is extreemly helpful for female reproductive system. I had taken it in powder form in my previous years of menustration and it really helped me to regulate my periods and reducing my menustral pain. It also helps in fertilisation and in the milk production in lactation.

    Right now I am taking pure Shatawari herb in tablet form, it made wonders to my PMS symtoms.

    Please reffer this site if you need some more information:
    http://www.himalayahealthcare.com/products/pharmaceuticals/shatavari.htm

    You can take shatawari withough prescription of a doctor. It 100% safe.

    I am also taking Evecare (herbal medicine).Doses were prescribed by the experts given by the site. I mailed them my query and they suggested this medicine. Yet to see any result from it. You check the properties of this medicine here:

    http://www.himalayahealthcare.com/products/pharmaceuticals/evecare.htm

    1. Hi shruti
      Just wanted to know are you going to a Ayurvedic doctor or a naturopath
      Could you please share the contact information
      Thanx

  34. Oh and I agree with the other posts, this give you an opportunity to talk about your issues that dr’s don’t have time for or understand in a holistic way. Also most acupuncturists are training in traditional Chinese medicine, so this covers diet and herbs, you really do get out what you put in!

    1. Thanks so much for the feedback, Jane. Sounds like acupuncture has really helped you! Will look into it further, with a member of the British Acupuncture Council!

      1. Tarryn since you are the moderator, I am guessing you have seen my last post, just above. In that post I mentioned that there are extremely few Chinese practitioners who are a member of that body. One reason that is important is that there is a very big difference between the clinical experience of Chinese practitioners and Western practitioners. Acupuncture are herbal medicine are part of subsidised government healthcare in China and that means that Chinese practitioners get to see and treat literally thousands of cases. The same is not the case over here. In China I would see fifty to a hundred patients a day in my teacher’s clinic, and in the UK I would be lucky to see four in a week. I’m not good at maths but I make that a ratio of more than 100:1. Experience is not everything and many Western practitioners are competent, and some of them are excellent. I am just making these points to put the Acupuncture Council thing in perspective.

  35. HI Tarryn, thanks for writing a very informative article about acupuncture. I have had acupucture for over a year and this reduced my period cycles from 38 days to 30/31 and they were of much better quality. We also got pregnant but unfortunately miscarried at 12 weeks. I will certainly continue with acupuncture as it helped my PCOS symptoms, relaxed me and certainly helped with fertility. Make sure you find someone is who a member of the British acupuncture council.

    1. Hi Jane,
      I have been looking some authentic place to go for acupuncture. Now I will find some one who is member of British acupuncture council. Thnx a million.

      1. It is not true that they have to be a member of the British Acupuncture Council. I know plenty of extremely mediocre acupuncturists who are a member of that body. The British Acupuncture Council is very good at self promotion, but that is in their own interest and not in the best interest of patients. For example, in London, there are a number of outstanding Chinese practitioners (some of whom were Professors and heads of department in hospitals in China), and Chinese practitioners are never members of the British Acupuncture Council, so don’t believe everything you read. What is important is that the practitioner uses single-use disposable needles and that they open them in front of you. You may not be able to see them open the packet if you are lying down but you can hear it. That’s about it really. It is a very safe treatment. The major problem is expertise rather than safety; you have to find someone who knows what they are doing, otherwise it will take too long to get results and take too long. And you also have to bear in mind even with the best practitioner on earth, not every patient gets spectacular results. I have treated a lot of PCOS patients and some get more dramatic results than others.

    2. Hi Tarryn,
      I am looking an expert acupunturist in Toronto area. I am scared to go any place just like that. If you know please lemme know.

      Thanks

  36. I was recently diagnosed with PCOS and am trying to find more homeopathic methods to help reverse some of my symptoms. I’m not TTC yet, and I don’t have increased levels of male hormones. Weight loss and insulin regulation are my top priorities right now. Have you read anything about positive effects on those areas from acupunture? Or have you noticed most information is on fertility and male hormones?

    1. Hi Andrea,

      Thanks so much for your question.

      Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in managing all aspects of PCOS, including insulin resistance. Here is a research article that gives a little more information: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20230329

      I think it is worth looking into even if you are not TTC.

      Tarryn

  37. I just started acupuncture this cycle. I have had two sessions so far. (he does two sessions before ovulation and one after) He uses the heat lamp thingy and then electrical stimulation also. I am so incredibly relaxed after I leave that my friends say I sound like I’m drunk when I call em 🙂 I’ve been feeling a lot better lately but I haven’t gotten through a full cycle…so we’ll see I suppose. The reviews on his website were AMAZING.

    1. It’s great that you’ve found someone with good reviews. I’m always a bit distrustful of professionals if I haven’t read or heard good things about them!

  38. Hi Tarryn,

    I started acupuncture with a fertitily specialist 3 months ago after 8 months of varying doses of Clomid that weren’t working and I ovulated for the first time in 2 in a half years 9 days ago :-).
    I’m convinced the acupuncture itself as helped, but not only does it totally relax me, it gives me someone to talk to every week that understands what i’m going through and provides advice and support (something the NHS totally hasn’t!)She also recommened several books that have helped me no end, mainly ‘The Ultimate PCOS Handbook’ by Colette Harris and ‘the Fertility plan’ by Jill Blakeway & Dr.Sami David. The acupuncture doesnt hurt and the treatment varies each week depending where in my cycle I am, I don’t always ask exactly what shes doing but sometimes she focuses on stimulating the bloodflow round my ovaries then the week after the building up of the lining of my endometrium then the week after the shedding of lining and a good healthy period and all the time focusing on keeping my hormomes as steady as possible. She also recommended I take 500mg of pure omega 3, plus a high potency multivitamin and Floridix daily. All in all I feel better than I have in ages and positive that a baby will be just round the corner now and its all thanks to her!

    1. Hi Sarah,

      Thanks so much for sharing your experiences! Acupuncture sounds like it’s been really positive for you and that you’re getting great results! It also sounds like your practitioner is very experienced at managing PCOS. I totally agree with Omega 3 and think you should also consider adding Inositol and folic acid to your regimen. It has been shown effective in stimulating ovulation in many women with PCOS.

      I hope you get your amazing baby news soon!

      Tarryn

    2. Hey,
      Its Pleasant to know acupuncture is working. I am also thinking to go for it but I am afraid where to go… are all acupuncture specialist are good enough… I am looking in Toronto area but still confuse where to go. Please let me know if you know some one in Toronto area.

  39. Hi Tarryn,

    I to have been having acupuncture since diagnosis last November. I love it!! So Relaxing still no success with falling pregnant but I have lost about 5kgs (I am also exercising). I think it is a really great alternative I recommend giving it a go 🙂

    1. 5 KG is excellent. The usual is about one kilo a month, though many patients come for treatment wanting quicker results. I don’t know where they get their information from but nothing and nobody can provide healthy, sustainable weight loss quicker than around a kilo a month. Incidentally the same is the case for men who want to put on muscle (ladies are not the only ones with body image issues). If a man puts on much more than a kilo of muscle a month, it is not likely to be without the help of certain pharmaceuticals.

  40. Hi Tarryn, I have been having accupuncture on and off for the past 2 years he does about 6 sessions on me the a break for about 2 months. I do think it has helped as I havn’t had it for the last 6 months and I have noticed my symptoms asr worse.
    Thanks Jen

    1. Hi Jen,

      Thanks so much for sharing your story. Sounds like acupuncture is really working for you! I may just need to give it a go!

      Tarryn

  41. I was diagnosed with PCOS in 2009. We had immediate success taking clomid. For the second time around I was hoping to go a bit more natural and attempted acupuncture despite my severe needle phobia. Like others have mentioned, the needles don’t hurt and I am so relaxed after every session I almost shouldn’t be driving myself home!

    I definitely know that the treatments change my hormones and regulate my cycles. When I am not doing regular acupuncture I will have 60 – 80 day cycles. When I am doing acupuncture (every 1 – 2 weeks) I have 28-30 day cycles.

    I have many friends diagnosed with unexplained infertility or PCOS who have become pregnant after a few months of acupuncture, after waiting years prior. One friend with PCOS used drugs for her first two kids and this time did weekly treatments for a month and got pregnant right away. Treatments can also be helpful for staying pregnant if women struggle with miscarriage.

    Ashley

    1. Hi Ashley,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience of acupuncture. It really does seem like it’s a valid and worthwhile intervention for PCOS.

      I hope you get your amazing baby news soon!

      Tarryn

    2. I have just started acupuncture to regulate my periods. I’ve been going weekly for about a month or so and have had one period so far..
      Considering they can be absent for years prior to this unless I was on the pill, I think it might actually b working

  42. Dear Tarryn,

    thank you for this post!
    Speaking of alternative medicine and such treatments like acupuncture, I thought I should share this with you –
    my homeopath prescribed me these herbs that will help me to balance the hormones, I haven’t got them yet, because I am ordering them directly from India, but I am very looking forward to start taking them when they arrive! I’ve also ordered Inositol after reading your previous post, can’t wait to get it!

    So here are the herbs:

    Shatavari (500gr/ 500 tablets)
    Regulating women’s cycle, has non harmful iestregen
    Brings preform
    stabilizes ovary functions
    Balances woman’s mind

    Ashvagandha (500gr/ 500 tablets)
    Gives stamina to body
    Stabilizes nervous system
    For overworked body/ tension

    Bala (1 package)
    Adding strength to body
    Enhancing nervous system, works with ashvaghandha

    Brahmi (200 tablets)
    Pacify the mind

    Shatavari sounds really great, here is some information I found about it on the internet:
    http://www.chopra.com/shatavari

    Hope you are great and thanks again for your wonderful blog and the amazing work you’re doing! It’s been very helpful and informative, thanks for sharing! 🙂

  43. hello

    I was diagnosed with PCOS 1 month ago and i started acupuncture right after that..
    i had a first appointment right after my period where the acupuncturist asked me few questions about my diet, looked at my tongue, my pulse, then she set 2 needles on my feet, on the side of my knee, 3 around the ovaries zone, 1 between the eyes, 1 on top of my head. she would leave them for 30min with a heating lamp over my belly.
    i had also some herbal medecines to take between appointments (1 every 2 weeks roughly)..i ve been there 3 times but no periods back yet.. i can t say if it is efficient yet but fingers crossed!
    Needles do not hurt, they are a bit itchy during the first 2 3 seconds then you don t really feel them..

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Thi. It’s great to hear from women who have tried acupuncture! I hope that it works for you! Let us know how you get on…

  44. I have done acupuncture in the past and have just began again this week. I have NO cycles…zero blood flow and I am hoping this will help. I agree I really enjoy the relaxation aspect. I will be going once a week for 3 months. I will keep you updated on experience. Fingers crossed for a period!

  45. I’ve been doing acupuncture for about a year now, for both PCOS and endo. It’s definitely helped, especially coming off the pill. My naturopath just uses plain needles, no electric stimulation, although I have had it in the past where they sort of light the needles with a heated instrument. The biggest advantage I get from it is the sheer state of relaxation that comes over me while I’m doing it. I could literally lie there all day. It also helps increase blood flow to the ovaries and uterus. I do it once month, between days 6-13 of my cycle, before ovulation. Highly recommend it!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing this Tara. I never thought acupuncture could be relaxing! It’s great that you’re seeing benefits!

    2. Hi Tara. Can this be done more than once per month? or should I stick to the way you do it i.e, between days 6-13 of your cycle before ovulation?
      Could you please tell me how and where do you insert the needle.

      1. I do acu 2x per week and it is AMAZING! It helps balance my hormones and increases my stamina and focus (no more fatigue from hormone imbalance!). My acupuncturist also prescribed me special Chinese Herbs designed for PCOS. This is a very minimally invasive treatment – and the worst thing that happen is you feel relaxed for an hour or so while the needles are in. It’s like taking your endocrine system to the spa.

  46. This is very interesting. Is this painful? I’m looking forward to the next article. Thanks for sharing Tarryn.

    Kiera

    1. Thanks Kiera. I don’t think it is painful, especially as Tara says that it’s relaxing. Maybe something worth considering?

      Tarryn

      1. It can be occasionally painful. Say 1 out of 20 needles might hurt a bit, but most patients don’t mind because 80% report feeling very relaxed during treatment. So I suppose they forget or forgive the occasional discomfort.

        1. Hi,

          The article was really helpful. I am 23 years old and I attained puberty at the age of 13. My irregualr periods started when I was 16. I tried many allopathy doctors and finally I started to get my periods after taking hormonal pills for 21 continuous days. She told me that I have to continue for 3 years. I just stopped taking pills and went for homeopathy. My cyst size got reduced after 6 months but I didnt get periods. For past one year I stopped everything and I am so frustrated with pills. ALong with PCOS I also have hyperthyroid problem. I planned to go to an accupunturist.. My triglycerides levels are always high but my weight is normal. Please tell me will accupunture help me? I am so worried. ALso I have another doubt will it lead to cancer by any chance??

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