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Acupuncture For PCOS Infertility Produces Superior Outcomes

Acupuncture successfully regulates hormones and ovarian blood flow in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) related infertility. Maternal and Child Healthcare Hospital of Hengfeng County researchers compared the efficaciousness of acupuncture and drug therapy. The addition of acupuncture to drug therapy produced superior patient outcomes over patients receiving only drug monotherapy. [1] The combined integrative medicine protocol using acupuncture produced improvements in the regulation of estradiol (E2), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), testosterone (T), and prolactin (PRL) levels. Also, ultrasound imaging reveals that acupuncture improves ovarian blood circulation. 

A total of 124 women diagnosed with infertility due to PCOS were recruited for the study and were randomly assigned to the control group or the acupuncture group. Participants in the control group were treated with conventional drug therapy. Participants in the acupuncture group received conventional drug therapy combined with acupuncture treatments.

Participant Intake The drug monotherapy control group consisted of 62 women aged 21–36 years, with a mean age of 26.11 years. Participants weighed 53–84kg, with a mean weight of 74.06kg, and a mean body mass index (BMI) of 26.82. The duration of disease was 2–11 years, with a mean duration of 4.64 years.

The acupuncture group consisted of 62 participants aged 22–37 years, with a mean age 25.84 years. The participants weighed 55–82kg, with a mean weight of 72.43kg, and a mean BMI of 27.02. The duration of disease was 2–12 years, with a mean duration of 4.52 years. There was no statistically significant difference between the baseline characteristics of the two groups (p>0.05) prior to treatments in the investigation.

Drug Therapy The participants in both groups were treated with pharmaceutical medications to regulate their menstrual cycles and promote ovulation. Oral ethinyl estradiol cyproterone (0.035mg) was prescribed to start on day two of the menstrual cycle, or day two of withdrawal bleeding in those women taking oral hormonal contraceptives. One dose was taken daily for 21 consecutive days, followed by a seven day break, during which time withdrawal bleeding would occur. The women were also prescribed oral clomifene (50mg). This was started on day 5 of the fourth menstrual cycle or fourth withdrawal bleed, and taken for five consecutive days. The total treatment length was six months.

Acupuncture Treatment In addition to drug therapy, women in the acupuncture group also received acupuncture according to the principles of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Eight acupoints were selected for the study with the following rationales:

Baihui (GV20) – raises yang and benefits qiTianshu (ST25) – raises clear yang qi and descends turbid fluidsQihai (CV6) – supplements the kidneys, benefits essence and original qiGuilai (ST29) – regulates blood flow and menstruationGeshu (BL17) – tonifies qi and bloodXinshu (BL15) – invigorates blood and calms shenShenshu (BL23) – tonifies the kidneys and nourishes essencePangguangshu (BL28) – regulates the lower burner, warms yang, and promotes the transformation of qi

Procedure Participants were asked to empty their bladders and bowels prior to each treatment. Following standard disinfection, 0.25 × 40mm needles were inserted into the acupoints. Baihui was needled transversely, and after obtaining deqi, the needle was retained for 30 minutes.

The remaining points were needled perpendicularly, using a needle flicking insertion technique. After obtaining deqi, needles were manipulated with a reinforcing-reducing technique, using appropriate lifting, thrusting, and rotation. Needles were retained fo