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PCOS Case Study with Chinese Medicine

tcm-pcos-toronto

PCOS is a common condition that affects many women’s lives and fertility health. Chinese medicine has a long history of treating women’s health issues with its holistic natural treatment. Here is one of the case that I use Chinese herbal medicine to improve the symptoms and regulate the hormones for my patient.

What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?

PCOS, which is characterized by the overgrowth of polyps in ovaries. Same as many other gynecological diseases, the cause is unknown and the cure is nowhere. There are also metabolic syndrome associated with PCOS in the majority of cases such as weight gain and insulin resistance.

The symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Irregular periods
  • Infertility
  • Ance
  • Weight gain
  • Hirsutism: Excessive facial and body hair.
  • Insulin resistance / high blood glucose level

PCOS Treatment and Chinese medicine approach

The first line treatment for the PCOS usually is hormonal substances such as birth control pills, IUD etc. If the patients want to get pregnant or are pregnant, then there is contraindicated situation with hormonal treatment.

In addition, because PCOS has a broad range of symptoms, an individualized treatment strategy is necessary to address the condition. This case is an example of how Chinese medicine can address PCOS individually without the side effects of birth control pills or other hormonal medications.

PCOS Treatment and Chinese medicine approach

Initial visit – October 2018
Ana, was a 27 years old female. She was diagnosed with PCOS a few years ago. She was taking birth control pills for 10 years previously. She just went off the pill and wanted to regulate her periods and improve general health.
Her period cycle was relatively regular, but the bleeding lasted 8-10 days which is longer than it should be (4-6 days). The flow was heavy in the first three days with severe cramps.

Other signs and symptoms
She had red flush and skin marks on her cheeks. Her skin was dry. Her upper body felt warm but lower body felt cold and swollen. Her shoulders and legs constantly felt tight.

This is a TCM pattern of uneven distribution of blood flow between upper and lower body. This imbalance results in over congested upper body, leading to heat signs such as red marks on the face and dry skin, aversion to heat, while the circulation in the lower body is restricted, causing fluid retention and swollen.

Abdominal Assessment
I performed Kampo Fukushin (hyperlink to Fukushin page) (Abdominal palpation). There was severe pain as I pressed on her lower abdomen/pelvic area on each side. The pain was so sharp that she almost jumped out the table. This was an indication of “Oketsu”, the blood stagnation in Kampo medicine.

Analysis and Kampo diagnosis
My final analysis was that the “Oketsu” in her pelvic area relates to the dysfunction of surrounding organs in the pelvic area(ovaries, uterus), as well as blocking the normal blood and lymphatic flow between upper and lower body.

Kampo/TCM Formulas
The treatment of Chinese medicine for Ana’s PCOS was consist of few classic formulas: Gui Chi Fu Ling Wan, Ge Gen Tang, Fang Feng Tong Shen Sa.
These formulas are designed to remove the Oketsu, regulate the hormone levels, and regulate metabolism. There was no hormones in the formulas.

Follow-ups and feedback

We did follow-up session every 2-4 weeks, Each follow-up session we revisited her signs and symptoms, making necessary adjustments to the formulas according to how her body responded to the treatment.
Ana’s first period after treatment lasted 6 days. There were a lot of dark blood clots that came out with the menstrual flow, but there was no cramps at all. She didn’t feel as fatigue as usual.

2019/01/13
Ana’s recent period lasted 5 days, there were big black clots the size of palm that came out without cramps. The flush on the face was less.

2019/02/23
This time the period was quiet. There were no clots, no cramps, normal flow, lasting 6 days.

2019/03/07
Ana said the last period came without her knowing it, which was a pleasant surprise to her. Not only were there no cramps and clots, even the usual PMS related mood swing was absent.

How to Treat PCOS and Hormonal Imbalance

PCOS is a hormone-related condition, but sometimes neither hormones is the only factor involved nor the cause of PCOS symptoms. In Ana’s case, I treated the blood stasis/Oketsu and resulted in improvement of PCSO symptoms without manipulating her hormone level directly. Instead of the hyper-narrowed perspective that western medicine takes, Chinese medicine takes a holistic view of the body and apply this approach in the process of assessment and treatment. Not only for PCOS, many other “hormonal imbalance” issues such as acne, PMS, endometriosis, infertility are not just a hormonal issue. You can read many other cases that I treated with Chinese medicine in my blog sections.

If you are looking for a holistic, natural approach for your health issues, you can book an appointment to discuss the Chinese medicine treatment.

Resources:
PCOS symptoms:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pcos/symptoms-causes/syc-20353439
PCOS treatment: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pcos/conditioninfo/treatments

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