Research: Acupuncture and Chinese herbs may improve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) success rates

Research: Acupuncture and Chinese herbs may improve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) success rates

Research: Acupuncture & PCOS success rates

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the leading causes of infertility in the world. Luckily, research indicates that a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help improve success rates for treating this distressing condition.

PCOS is a complex endocrine and metabolic syndrome characterized by small ovarian cysts, irregular menstrual cycles, abnormal hair growth, acne, and metabolic imbalances that disturb ovulation and lead to infertility. Women who suffer from PCOS also have a higher risk of developing hypertension and diabetes. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine specialists have been treating patients with PCOS for some time and a 2011 study , The study: Combination of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicinal Herbs in Treating Model Rats With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome* backs up their approach.

The Study
Researchers explored the effects of combination of acupuncture and Chinese medicinal herbs in treating model rats PCOS to explore whether acupuncture has positive effects on the absorption of salvianolic acid B in the extracts of a Chinese medicine formula when treating the model rats.  

Sixty female rats were randomly divided into Groups A, B, C, D, E and F - with 10 rats in each group. Except Group F, all of the other rats were induced to PCOS with oral administration of letrozole. 

  • Group F served as normal controls.
  • Group A was treated with acupuncture.
  • Group B was treated with oral administration of the extracts of the Chinese medicine formula.
  • Group C was treated with a combination of oral administration of the extracts of Chinese medicine and acupuncture.
  • Group D received western medicine as positive controls.

After treatment, the serum levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH) and testosterone (T) in each group were detected with the Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay (ELISA) and the serum concentration of salvianolic acid B were determined using High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). 

The serum levels of T and the ratio of LH/FSH in Group A, B. C, D, and F were significantly lower than those of Group E, indicating the model rats with PCOS were successfully established. Compared with Groups A, B, D and E, the serum levels of T and the ratio of LH/FSH in Group C were significantly lower respectively, indicating combination of acupuncture and Chinese medicinal herbs can significantly enhance curative effects in treating model rats with PCOS. The concentration of serum salvianolic acid Group C was significantly higher than Group B, indicating that acupuncture might improve the absorption of salvianolic acid B from the extracts of Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge in the Chinese medicine formula. 

The Chinese herbal formula
The Chinese formula used to treat PCOS was composed with 30g of Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge, 35g of Eucommia ulmoides Oliver, 20g of Carthamus tinctorius Linn., 20g of Bupleurum chinense DC., 30g of Gleditsia sinensis Lam. and 20g of Atractylodes lancea( Thunb.) DC. The crude drugs of this formula were extracted by boiling water for an hour to reach the final volume of 1550 ml. After filtration, the extraction procedure was repeated once to reach the final volume of 1240mL. All the filtrates were combined and condensed under reduced pressure and freeze dried.

Comparison of Serum FSH, LH and T levels and the ratio of LH/FSH. As shown in Figure 3, the serum levels of T and the ratio of LH/FSH in Group A, B. C, D, and F were significantly lower than those of Group E, indicating that the model rats with PCOS were successfully established. Compared with Groups A, B, D and E, the serum levels of T and the ratio of LH/FSH in Group C were significantly lower respectively, indicating combination of acupuncture and Chinese medicinal herbs can significantly enhance curative effects in treating model rats with PCOS.

Acupuncture / TCM & PCOS success - Study Conclusion
Combining acupuncture and Chinese medicinal herbs significantly enhance curative effects in treating model rats with PCOS and acupuncture has positive effects in improving the absorption of salvianolic acid B in the extracts of the Chinese medicine formula when treating the model rats with PCOS.

Additional acupuncture research on PCOS
The above study adds to a body of PCOS and acupuncture research including a 2000 study by Stener-Victorin, which concluded that repeated electro-acupuncture treatments induced regular ovulations in more than one third of the women with PCOS in her study. 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, electro-acupuncture offered an alternative to pharmacological ovulation induction.

Together, the study stated, with changes in diet and rational exercise, use of the combination of acupuncture and Chinese medicinal herbs can empower PCOS women to lead a better quality of lives. **

Sources

* Combination of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicinal Herbs in Treating Model Rats With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Rui-Jie Ma, Jue Zhou, Jian-Qiao Fang, et al. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2011; 8(4): 353–361. 
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3218459

** Effects of Electro-acupuncture on Anovulation in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
Stener-Victorin E, Waldenström U, Tägnfors U, Lundeberg T, Lindstedt G, Janson PO
Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2000 Mar; 79(3):180-8.