By Bret Ellington
For many women, losing weight is a never-ending struggle. No matter how hard they try, the pounds just won't come off. All the dieting and endless hours in the gym leave them feeling fatigued, hungry and infinitely frustrated with lack of progress. Well, guess what? It might not be your fault. You may have a hormonal condition call Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), making it all but impossible to lose the weight you want to lose. There are many possible symptoms for PCOS and treatment options are available from both Eastern and Western medicine. Western treatments involve different types of hormone therapy, while Eastern treatments rely on acupuncture and herbal therapy.
Women with PCOS develop numerous cysts on their ovaries, which is how it gets its name. Other signs and symptoms include weight gain (very often in the abdomen), obesity, excessive hair growth on the face, thinning hair on the scalp, acne and irregular periods. For women, with PCOS, who exercise rigorously, the weight in the belly just never seems to go away and is a constant source of frustration for them. Very often women with PCOS will have delayed cycles or even miss a period completely and when the period comes, it is usually quite painful. This disruption in the cycle also makes it very difficult for women with PCOS to get pregnant. In fact, PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility in women, yet many women don't even know they have it. Many of these symptoms can be associated with a high level of testosterone, which women with PCOS have. Chinese Medicine can help to balance the body, regulate the natural cycle and restore ovulation.
While Western medicine looks at illness in a linear way, Eastern Medicine takes a holistic approach. What this means is that having a specific illness doesn't necessarily mean that everyone gets the same treatment. We treat the root cause of the problem and not just the symptoms. In Traditional Oriental medicine, PCOS can be attributed to three different diagnoses. A patient may have one, a combination of two or all three syndromes (having all three is the most common). These three diagnoses are: Accumulation of Phlegm and/or Damp, Kidney Yang deficiency and Stagnation of Qi and/or Blood. If the patient has all three going on, one of the syndromes is usually predominant, but all three need to be addressed. Acupuncture treatments to resolve phlegm and damp, move Qi and Blood, and Tonify Kidney Yang are used, along with Chinese herbal formulas. Studies have shown that electro-acupuncture treatments are the most effective for patients with PCOS. The low electrical current (machines are run on 9-volt batteries) can help lower testosterone levels.
Women with PCOS should take this condition very seriously. Besides the obvious physical signs, PCOS can lead to some even more serious conditions such as diabetes, obesity, stroke and cardiovascular disease. A treatment plan involving acupuncture, natural Chinese herbs and a regular exercise routine can keep your hormone levels in check and help you avoid going on hormone therapy.
Bret Ellington is an acupuncture specialist in Orange County and is the owner of Inner Balance Acupuncture. Graduating with a Master of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine, Bret is a Licensed Acupuncturist in California and Nationally. Specializing in women's health and fertility, he works with many women trying to conceive naturally and through IVF. His patients can also get treatment for endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, menopausal symptoms and PCOS. He also works with athletes, accident victims and even in conjunction with victims from Survivors of Torture International. Please visit http://www.acupunctureorangecounty.com to learn more.
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