A truly thorough, well-referenced paper exploring the mechanism and effects of acupuncture on PCOS. Written by leading PCOS researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Effect and Mechanisms of Acupuncture for Ovulation Induction
Julia Johansson and Elisabet Stener-Victorin
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the most common endocrine disorder among women of reproductive age, is characterized by the coexistence of hyperandrogenism, ovulatory dysfunction, and polycystic ovaries (PCO). PCOS also represents the largest part of female oligoovulatory infertility, and the management of ovulatory and menstrual dysfunction comprises a third of the high costs of PCOS treatment. Current pharmacological and surgical treatments for reproductive symptoms are effective, however, associated with negative side effects, such as cardiovascular complications and multiple pregnancies. For menstrual irregularities and ovulation induction in women with PCOS, acupuncture has indicated beneficial effects. This review will focus on the results from randomized controlled acupuncture trials for the regulation of menstrual dysfunction and for inducing ovulation in women with PCOS although there are uncontrolled trials with nonetheless interesting results. Animal experimental studies will be further discussed when they can provide a more mechanistic explanatory view.