PCOS is the most common cause of infertility in the developed world. The diagnostic criteria for PCOS have changed over the years, but it is usually diagnosed when at least two of the following are present:
- Polycystic ovaries (an ultrasound reveals at least 10 or more small cysts on the ovary)
- Irregular periods
- Signs of clinical or biochemical hyperandrogenism (an excess of androgen hormones which can cause excessive facial and body hair, acne, or thinning hair).
PCOS can also cause obesity and insulin resistance, although these symptoms are not present in all cases.
Many PCOS sufferers are prescribed the contraceptive pill, which masks the symptoms of PCOS and those who are trying to conceive and do not ovulate are often given Clomid (clomiphene citrate) to induce ovulation. If these strategies do not work then the patient may be referred for IVF treatment.
There is no doubt that PCOS is a challenging condition, but combining acupuncture for PCOS with herbal medicine and lifestyle advice, can have an extremely important part to play in regulating cycles and assisting conception.
“Within two months of seeing Olivia I had my first natural period in over ten years and within four months I was pregnant!” (Sarah)