Acupuncture And PCOS: Does It Help?

by | Mar 10, 2024 | Acupuncture, Fertility Acupuncture

At Family Wellness Acupuncture in Irvine, CA, Ryoko Takayama and her dedicated team share a passion for exploring how acupuncture for PCOS, an ancient Chinese practice, may provide much-needed relief to those wrestling with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

This condition touches the lives of countless women around the globe, bringing a myriad of challenging symptoms such as irregular menstrual cycles and insulin resistance into their daily lives.

Encouragingly, emerging research points towards acupuncture not just as an alternative treatment but as a potential game-changer by helping regulate hormone levels and encouraging ovulation.

So if you find yourself pondering whether acupuncture could play a role in your PCOS journey, keep reading. Let’s explore this path together – it might just be the turn you’ve been hoping for.

Key Takeaways

  • Acupuncture can regulate hormones, improve ovulation rates, and reduce insulin resistance in PCOS patients.
  • Research shows combining acupuncture with metformin brings better results than using metformin alone for treating PCOS.
  • Studies suggest acupuncture may lower stress levels and help manage symptoms like irregular periods and excess hair growth.
  • Acupuncture targets specific points to address the root causes of PCOS, offering a holistic approach to treatment.
  • Clinical trials indicate significant improvements in pregnancy rates and menstrual regularity for women undergoing acupuncture therapy.

Understanding PCOS

Woman suffering from PCOS

PCOS is a common hormonal disorder among women.. It can cause irregular menstrual periods, infertility, and excessive hair growth.

The etiology of PCOS

Scientists are still piecing together what causes PCOS, but we know it’s a complex condition. It involves hormonal imbalances and metabolic issues, with insulin resistance playing a key role in its development.

Here’s where things get interesting—the disordered hypothalamic–pituitary–ovarian/adrenal axis significantly impacts these hormonal changes. This imbalance creates a challenging environment for regular ovulation.

We also recognize that genetics might be at play alongside lifestyle factors contributing to the puzzle of PCOS etiology. Despite the lack of clear-cut answers, acupuncture emerges as a beacon of hope for many dealing with this syndrome.

By targeting specific acupoints, it aims to restore balance within these disrupted pathways. This traditional Chinese medicine approach gives us an alternative way to address not just the symptoms but potentially tap into the underlying issues causing PCOS.

Overview of symptoms

Understanding the causes of PCOS leads us directly into how it affects our bodies. Symptoms vary but often include irregular menstrual cycles, difficulties with ovulation, and signs of hyperandrogenism such as acne and excess hair growth.

Many women also experience weight gain or difficulty losing weight—a frustrating battle against their own metabolism.

We see elevated levels of insulin in some cases, not just an annoyance but a real threat to health, paving the way for type 2 diabetes. Emotional disturbances can creep in too; feelings of anxiety and depression become more common than we’d like to admit.

Each symptom chips away at quality of life, making every day a bit harder than it should be.

Acupuncture as a Potential Treatment for PCOS

Acupuncture Needle Placement On Stomach for PCOS Treatment

Acupuncture has shown promise as a potential treatment for PCOS, with evidence-based studies supporting its efficacy. Acupoint selection plays a crucial role in the effectiveness of acupuncture therapy for PCOS.

Evidence-based study of acupuncture for PCOS

Exploring the role of acupuncture in managing PCOS, we’ve delved into the evidence that showcases its potential. Here’s a concise summary:

Study Aspect Findings
Hormone Regulation Acupuncture has shown efficacy in regulating hormone levels, crucial for addressing PCOS.
Ovulation and Pregnancy Rates Improvements in ovulation and pregnancy rates were observed, highlighting acupuncture’s role in fertility enhancement.
Insulin Resistance Patients experienced attenuated insulin resistance, marking a positive impact on metabolic aspects of PCOS.
Negative Emotions and Sexual Hormone Disturbance Acupuncture reduced negative emotions and sexual hormone disturbances, contributing to overall well-being.
Lipid Metabolism Treatment improved lipid metabolism dysfunction, addressing cardiovascular risk factors associated with PCOS.
Combination with Metformin When combined with metformin, acupuncture notably improved pregnancy and ovulation rates as well as insulin resistance.
IVF and ICSI Support Acupuncture increased clinical and ongoing pregnancy rates while decreasing the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome in assisted reproduction.
Glucose Metabolism and Insulin Sensitivity There was a noticeable improvement in glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity, showing acupuncture’s metabolic benefits.

Our exploration reflects acupuncture’s multifaceted role in managing PCOS—ranging from hormonal balance and metabolic health to emotional well-being. With these insights, we see a promising adjunct or alternative treatment avenue in acupuncture for those navigating the complexities of PCOS.

Acupoint selection in PCOS treatment

Choosing the right acupoints in acupuncture for PCOS treatment is crucial. We focus on points that directly impact PCOS symptoms and fertility.

  • SP6 (Sanyinjiao): This is a powerful point located above the ankle. It’s known to regulate menstrual function and balance hormones, making it a go-to spot for treating PCOS.
  • ST29 (Guilai): Found on the lower abdomen, this point targets the reproductive organs. It’s essential for addressing issues like menstrual irregularity and ovulatory dysfunction often seen in PCOS patients.
  • CV6 (Qihai) and CV4 (Guanyuan): Both points sit on the midline of the abdomen and are crucial for enhancing vitality and energy. They play a significant role in boosting reproductive health and regulating the menstrual cycle.
  • LI4 (Hegu), CV3 (Zhongji), ST36 (Zusanli), SP9 (Yinlingquan): These points together enhance overall well-being. They support hormonal balance, improve insulin sensitivity, and help manage stress – all critical factors in managing PCOS.

Underlying Mechanisms of Acupuncture Therapy on PCOS

Acupuncture for PCOS Treatment

Acupuncture addresses ovulatory dysfunction, counters hyperandrogenism, alleviates insulin resistance and obesity, and manages emotional disorders. It targets the root causes of PCOS to restore hormonal balance..

Family Wellness Acupuncture in Irvine CA specializes in these treatments under the expertise of Ryoko Takayama.

Addressing Ovulatory dysfunction

Improving ovulation rate in PCOS patients is a noteworthy benefit of acupuncture treatment. It’s associated with influencing gene expression and protein levels, effectively addressing ovulatory dysfunction.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has also been proven effective in increasing the ovulation rate for women with PCOS, thereby enhancing their chances of conception. This holistic approach can positively impact the lives of those dealing with PCOS-related ovulatory issues.

Counteracting Hyperandrogenism

Moving from addressing ovulatory dysfunction to counteracting hyperandrogenism, it’s essential to note that acupuncture has shown promise in balancing and reducing excessive androgen levels.

This can help manage symptoms like hirsutism and acne associated with PCOS by regulating the endocrine system, impacting signaling pathways such as PI3K/Akt/mTOR, enhancing insulin receptor sensitivity, and downregulating CYP17 expression – all contributing to improved hormonal balance within the body.

Furthermore, studies have indicated that acupuncture plays a role in mitigating mitochondrial dysfunction, which is linked to hyperandrogenemia.

Acupuncture may help reduce cortisol concentrations – affecting GnRH secretion – thus improving ovulation induction. It also regulates serum ?-endorphin and androgen levels causing an impact on anxiety and depression in PCOS patients.

Alleviating Insulin resistance and obesity

Addressing insulin resistance is paramount in managing PCOS, and acupuncture has shown promising results in improving insulin sensitivity and regulating insulin substrates. It can positively impact glucose and lipid metabolism dysfunctions, potentially reducing cortisol concentrations.

Moreover, acupuncture may aid in alleviating obesity by modulating hormone levels and improving metabolic dysfunction, presenting a promising avenue for individuals with PCOS seeking to manage these symptoms effectively.

With its potential to address both insulin resistance and obesity simultaneously, acupuncture offers a holistic approach to tackling key aspects of PCOS management.

Managing Emotional disorders

Acupuncture therapy has the potential to manage emotional disorders linked with PCOS by regulating sympathetic output, HPA and HPG axes, and insulin signaling pathways. The treatment shows promise in addressing emotional symptoms alongside other PCOS-related issues such as ovulatory dysfunction, hyperandrogenism, and insulin resistance.

The mechanisms of acupuncture demonstrate its ability to alleviate emotional disorders associated with PCOS, highlighting its potential as a holistic approach to address both physical and emotional aspects of the condition.

Clinical and Animal Studies Supporting Acupuncture for PCOS

PCOS Study

Several clinical and animal studies have revealed the potential of acupuncture in addressing PCOS. Evidence suggests that acupuncture can positively impact menstrual frequency, hormone levels, insulin resistance, and fertility in individuals with PCOS.

Research has also indicated that acupuncture may play a role in regulating the autonomic nervous system and balancing sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve activity. Furthermore, studies examining the efficacy of acupuncture for PCOS management have shown promising results, providing valuable insights into its therapeutic potential.

Treatment of PCOS through Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a holistic approach to managing PCOS through acupuncture and specialized Chinese herbal formulae. It addresses not just the symptoms but also the root causes, aiming at restoring balance to the body’s systems.

The integration of TCM with modern medical practices shows promise in enhancing the overall well-being of individuals struggling with PCOS.

Acupuncture in TCM for PCOS

Acupuncture in TCM for PCOS involves the strategic insertion of fine needles at specific points to restore balance and promote healing within the body. This traditional method aims to regulate menstrual cycles, reduce cyst size, and alleviate symptoms such as irregular periods, acne, or hirsutism.

By targeting key meridians related to reproductive function and hormonal regulation, acupuncture in TCM can effectively address hormonal imbalances often associated with PCOS.

Science-backed evidence highlights that acupuncture may help improve ovulation frequency while reducing testosterone levels and insulin resistance in women with PCOS. Furthermore, it has been found that acupuncture treatments can contribute to enhancing overall fertility outcomes among individuals diagnosed with this condition through potential improvements in egg quality and uterine blood flow.

Chinese herbal formulae for PCOS

Several Chinese herbal formulas have shown promising results in improving glucose and lipid metabolism in PCOS patients. These traditional remedies offer potential benefits for managing the symptoms of PCOS, offering a complementary approach alongside acupuncture.

Research has highlighted the effectiveness of these herbal formulae, providing hope for individuals seeking alternative treatments for PCOS. Incorporating Chinese herbal medicine into the overall treatment plan may present a holistic approach to addressing the multifaceted nature of PCOS.

Effects on Glucose and Lipid Metabolism – By improving glucose and lipid metabolism in PCOS patients, Chinese herbal formulae contribute to addressing core aspects of the condition, potentially offering relief from related symptoms and complications.

Effects of Acupuncture on PCOS-related Symptoms

Acupuncture can improve insulin sensitivity and relieve insulin resistance (IR). It also reduces oxidative stress, lowers chronic inflammation, and regulates apoptosis. Need more information on how acupuncture helps alleviate PCOS symptoms? Visit for the full scoop from Family Wellness Acupuncture in Irvine CA, led by Ryoko Takayama.

Effect on the menstrual cycle and ovulation function

Acupuncture has shown promise in improving the menstrual cycle and ovulation function for women with PCOS. Studies indicate that acupuncture can enhance endometrial thickness, increase the rate of ovulation, and regulate the menstrual cycle for those with PCOS.

Furthermore, research has suggested that acupuncture may lead to improved pregnancy rates among women with PCOS, indicating its potential as a supportive treatment for addressing issues related to menstruation and ovulation in these individuals.

The evidence suggests that acupuncture treatment can positively impact fertility outcomes by addressing irregularities in the menstrual cycle and supporting more regular ovulation patterns in women with PCOS.

Improvement of insulin sensitivity and relief of IR

By enhancing insulin sensitivity, acupuncture helps relieve insulin resistance in PCOS. Combining acupuncture with metformin has shown significant improvement in insulin sensitivity compared to metformin alone.

Randomized controlled trials have demonstrated noteworthy reductions in insulin resistance after acupuncture treatment, highlighting its potential as an effective approach for managing PCOS-related metabolic dysfunction.

Reduction of oxidative stress

Evidence suggests that acupuncture can help reduce oxidative stress in women with PCOS. This is significant because high levels of oxidative stress are often associated with PCOS, leading to chronic inflammation and various metabolic disturbances.

By targeting oxidative stress, acupuncture may offer a promising avenue for managing these complications in individuals with PCOS. It’s important to recognize the potential impact this could have on improving overall health outcomes for those affected by PCOS.

Additionally, electroacupuncture (EA) has been shown to be effective in inhibiting the overexpression of anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) and increasing the expression level of P450arom in ovarian granulosa cells.

Lowering chronic inflammation

Acupuncture has shown promise in reducing chronic inflammation, which is often associated with PCOS-related symptoms. Studies have indicated that acupuncture may help lower levels of inflammation and alleviate the impact of chronic inflammation on various aspects of PCOS.

This presents a potential avenue for managing the inflammatory component of PCOS through acupuncture.

As we delve into the effects of acupuncture on addressing chronic inflammation in PCOS, it’s crucial to understand its broader impact beyond symptomatic relief. Let’s explore how this holistic approach can offer new perspectives on addressing chronic inflammation in the context of PCOS treatment.

Regulation of apoptosis

Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is a crucial process in the body. In PCOS patients, acupuncture has shown potential to regulate apoptosis. This regulation can help manage and improve symptoms associated with PCOS.

By impacting apoptosis, acupuncture may play a role in addressing the physiological imbalances characteristic of PCOS.

Furthermore, the potential of acupuncture to influence apoptosis opens up avenues for managing various aspects of PCOS more effectively. By targeting this fundamental biological process, acupuncture offers promise as a holistic approach in addressing the complexities of PCOS.

Acupuncture in Women with Polycystic Ovary/Ovarian Syndrome: Evidence from Randomized Controlled Trials

Study Feature Details
Objective Investigate acupuncture’s efficacy on PCOS symptoms.
Methods Randomized controlled trials comparing acupuncture with no treatment, sham acupuncture, or conventional therapies.
Results Acupuncture significantly improved ovulation rate, pregnancy rate, and reduced insulin resistance.
Acupuncture Types Both manual acupuncture and electroacupuncture showed effectiveness.
Mechanisms Regulates hormone levels, promotes ovulation, attenuates insulin resistance.
Additional Benefits Improves menstrual regularity, decreases cortisol concentrations, enhances lipid metabolism.
Combination Therapy Acupuncture with metformin yielded better outcomes than metformin alone.
IVF/ICSI Success Increased clinical and ongoing pregnancy rates, decreased risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.
Conclusion Acupuncture serves as an effective complementary treatment for PCOS, with evidence supporting its role in improving fertility and metabolic profiles.

Discussion on the Efficacy and Safety of Acupuncture for PCOS

Acupuncture has shown positive effects on PCOS-related factors such as menstrual frequency, hormone levels, insulin resistance, and fertility. Combined with metformin, it improved pregnancy rate, ovulation rate, and insulin resistance in PCOS patients compared to metformin alone.

Studies have found acupuncture to be relatively effective in improving glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity in PCOS patients. It shows potential for managing PCOS due to its various potential treatment mechanisms and may ameliorate insulin resistance while affecting cholesterol and lipid metabolism enzyme activity in these patients.

Moreover, acupuncture has been observed to regulate the function of the HPOA and metabolism, promote ovulation, improve insulin resistance, enhance endometrial receptivity in PCOS patients..

Future Perspectives in Acupuncture Treatment for PCOS

Future perspectives in acupuncture treatment for PCOS show promising potential to further enhance ovulation rates, pregnancy rates, and insulin resistance. The ongoing research into the effects of acupuncture on anxiety and depression in PCOS patients could open new doors for holistic management.

Additionally, the focus on TCM patterns associated with psychological and metabolic abnormalities aims to bring personalized care to individuals with PCOS. These emerging avenues pave the way for a more comprehensive approach to addressing the multifaceted nature of PCOS.


Acupuncture shows promise in treating PCOS symptoms. It regulates hormones, promotes ovulation, and improves insulin resistance. The treatment may also reduce anxiety and depression.

Interested in trying acupuncture? Book your first appointment today to kickstart your journey toward better health at (949) 836-2857 or!

Have a question? Connect with us here:


1. What is acupuncture, and can it help with PCOS?

Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine technique, involves inserting thin needles into specific body points. Yes—it shows promise in treating PCOS by regulating periods and improving fertility.

2. How does acupuncture affect hormone levels in PCOS?

This treatment works by balancing hormones like LH/FSH and estradiol. It also reduces testosterone levels, helping to manage symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome.

3. Can acupuncture improve ovulation in women with PCOS?

Absolutely! Acupuncture has been noted to promote follicular development and support ovulation—key for women facing anovulation or irregular cycles due to PCOS.

4. Does this therapy have any impact on insulin resistance linked to PCOS?

Yes, studies suggest that acupuncture might enhance insulin sensitivity, making it an effective adjunct therapy for women with insulin-resistant PCOS.

5. Apart from hormonal balance, what other benefits does acupuncture offer for PCOS sufferers?

Beyond hormones—acupuncture may lower total cholesterol and improve the lipid profile including increasing high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol). Plus, it might reduce markers of inflammation within the body.

6. Is combining acupuncture with other treatments beneficial for managing PCOS symptoms?

Indeed; when paired with lifestyle changes or medications like metformin or letrozole—acupuncture potentially boosts their effectiveness in managing weight, improving menstrual regularity,, and enhancing chances of conception.



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