Acupuncture and Exercise to help with PCOS
Posted by Christina Pistotnik
The human body ceases to amaze me, because it is such a wonderful mechanism that is constantly adjusting chemicals and hormones so that everything is operating smoothly and functioning properly. Unfortunately, when it is not performing properly that is when certain disorders can occur such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). The exact reason as to why PCOS occurs may not be completely understood but it is thought to be due to an overactive sympathetic nervous system. What is known about PCOS is that there is a hormone imbalance occurring within the body that leads to an array of symptoms including: infertility, irregular menstrual cycles, acne, excess hair growth, insulin resistance, weight gain, inability to lose weight, ovarian cysts, fatigue, and mood swings. As you can see the proper balance of hormones within the body plays such an important role not only to our overall health but also to the health of our reproductive system. Acupuncture and exercise is able to help stabilize hormone production to achieve a properly functioning endocrine and reproductive system.
The primary theory behind acupuncture has always been to restore balance to the body and mind to achieve and maintain health. This is why acupuncture is thought to help woman with PCOS because it works to rebalance the hormones that are out of whack. Once hormone balance is achieved regular menstrual cycles can occur therefore regular ovulation is happening, which inevitably means conception is able to take place. Acupuncture is also great at relieving stress, which is something a lot of women suffering with fertility issues experience. Stress can put serious strain on the body and also make hormonal issues worse than what they are. Acupuncture achieves stress reduction by calming the mind and improving mood so that you are able to cope with stress more efficiently and gain a positive outlook on your situation. It is important to note that while acupuncture does have so many beneficial attributes it is not some magical thing that once you have an acupuncture treatment you are healed over night, it takes time to bring your body and mind back into balance. Every woman is different and has different experiences but for the most part a three-month treatment period can be sufficient enough to help stabilize hormones to regulate menstruation and manage fertility issues.
A study done in Sweden using acupuncture and exercise to increase fertility in woman with PCOS showed positive results for both therapies. However, acupuncture showed to be the most beneficial as Elisabet Stener-Victorin the lead researcher stated, “Those who received acupuncture found that their menstruation became more normal. We could also see that their levels of testosterone became significantly lower, and this is an important observation, since elevated testosterone levels are closely connected with the increased activity in the sympathetic nervous system of women”.
Exercise is another important component to managing PCOS because it also helps to calm the sympathetic nervous system. This is because exercise reduces insulin resistance by lowering insulin levels in the body allowing it to use glucose more effectively. An additional benefit to exercise is that it will increase your chances of losing weight by building muscle mass and this helps boosts the metabolism so your body can burn calories even while you are not exercising. Women with PCOS that had as little as 10% weight loss have shown to ovulate on a more regular basis.
A workout schedule that consists of at least 30 min-1 hour of exercise, three times a week have shown to have the best results. I know it can be hard sometimes to be able to find the time or even the motivation but it is important that you keep up the good work and if you miss a day or two don’t give up, just know that you can do better next week. It takes time to develop good habits but the more often you stick to a regular workout schedule the better you will feel and the easier it will be to maintain your exercise regime.
At Whole Family Health we are here to help you by providing you with acupuncture and give you motivation to keep exercising so that PCOS can be manageable in order to achieve fertility. The only thing that is needed is some time and patience so you can have a healthy balanced body working in complete harmony.
Lindstom Claessen, Elin. (2009, August 5). Acupuncture may bring relief for a common condition in women. University of Gothenburg News. Retrieved from http://www.sahlgrenska.gu.se/english/news_and_events/news/News_Detail/Acupuncture_may_bring_relief_for_a_common_condition_in_women.cid888258