Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome are often prescribed Clomid - or other more expensive ovulation inducing drugs - to promote normal ovulatory cycles and make conception possible. Sometimes Clomid works and sometimes it doesnít, but for many PCOS women electro-acupuncture offers a safe, side-effect-free option that induces ovulation naturally.
Electro-acupuncture is a specialized form of acupuncture where tiny clips are attached to the end of the acupuncture needles and a low-frequency electrical current is pulsed through the needles. Your acupuncturist needs to be very familiar with this technique - and the frequencies required for ovulation induction in PCOS - for the treatment to work. Seeing an ABORM certified acupuncturist - or an acupuncturist who genuinely specializes in fertility - should insure that your practitioner is conversant with this treatment protocol.
A Swedish study evaluated the effect of electro-acupuncture treatment on women with PCOS and measured the rate of ovulations during and after treatment. Twenty four women were observed for a total of 9 months; three months before treatment, three months after treatment and during the three months of electro-acupuncture (EA).
Thirty eight percent of women in the study experienced significantly increased ovulations during and after electro-acupuncture. The study also sought to establish which kinds of PCOS women would respond well through a series of blood tests. They discovered that women with a lower BMI (body mass index), lower testosterone levels, lower basal insulin levels and higher sex-hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels were more likely to respond well. The researchers of the study concluded that;
"Repeated EA treatments induce regular ovulations in more than one third of the women with PCOS. The group of women with good effect had a less androgenic hormonal profile before treatment and a less pronounced metabolic disturbance compared with the group with no effect. For this selected group EA offers an alternative to pharmacological ovulation induction."
I have found this treatment to be very valuable in inducing ovulation and use it regularly in my practice. With electro-acupuncture many PCOS women are able to ovulate naturally - or respond better to pharmacological ovulation induction - avoiding the progression to IVF or gonadotropin injections.
This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for the advice of a suitably qualified dietitian and/or physician.
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Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2000 Mar;79(3):180-8. Effects of electro-acupuncture on ovulation in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Stener-Victorin, et al.