Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor’s Perspective on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Tag: Dr. Grace Yu
Case Study: How to Lose Weight With PCOS
Twelve-year-old Xuanxuan came to me seeking help with weight loss. I was initially surprised that a young girl going through puberty would be concerned with losing weight, but her body shape was indeed on the heavier side. Through traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) diagnostic processes of observation, listening, questioning, and pulse diagnosis, I learned that Xuanxuan was a female going through puberty and that she has infrequent and irregular menstrual cycles. After one or two menstrual periods at the age of ten, her menstruation became very irregular, they occurred every three to six months, with a lighter flow. Additionally, she had difficulty sleeping, acne on her face, and showed signs of excessive hair growth. After careful consideration, I diagnosed Xuanxuan with polycystic ovary syndrome PCOS.
Clinical Examination & PCOS Chinese Medicine Diagnosis
TCM diagnosis involves observing the patient’s facial color, tongue coating, and demeanor, as well as asking questions to understand their current physical state. Through this process, the diagnosis is usually around 80-90% accurate. After pulse diagnosis, I prescribed medication to adjust her imbalanced organ functions and blood circulation. I also requested Xuanxuan to undergo biochemical blood and ultrasound examinations at the hospital to provide us with a more comprehensive understanding of her condition.
Regardless of the specific illness or health imbalance, TCM treatments aim to adjust the balance of yin and yang and organ functions through observation, listening, questioning and pulse diagnosis. This is why TCM also has the concept of preventive medicine, which encourages patients to be aware of their body’s self-perception without excessive fear of their physical conditions.
After about a month of PCOS Chinese treatment, Xuanxuan’s complexion and body gradually became more vivid and slim. Her self-perception also improved significantly. By the third month, her menstrual cycle and flow began to normalize, and she entered a stable period of treatment. With her cooperation in adjusting her diet and exercise, Xuanxuan was a great partner in her recovery.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome PCOS is a comprehensive syndrome of endocrine disorders caused by reproductive dysfunction and abnormal glucose metabolism. Its key features include persistent anovulation and excessive androgen, making it the most common cause of menstrual disorders in women of reproductive age and easily leading to infertility.
Here are some common symptoms of PCOS:
- Menstrual disorders: infrequent or light periods, heavy bleeding, or menorrhagia
- Infertility: caused by ovulation disorders
- Hirsutism: excess hair growth, usually around the nipples, lips, or chin, and may be accompanied by hair loss
- PCOS acne: oily skin and acne on the face and back
- Obesity: more than half of patients are overweight (BMI ≥ 25) or have type 2 diabetes
- Acanthosis nigricans: pigment deposition in the folds of the skin
In TCM, PCOS is classified as “menstrual disorders” “late menstruation,” “amenorrhea,” “menorrhagia,” and “Fibroid.” Doctors diagnose and treat patients based on their menstrual color, cycle, volume, texture, and other accompanying symptoms. The disease often stems from kidney and spleen deficiency, as well as liver depression, phlegm dampness, and blood stasis. Kidney deficiency leads to weak push, difficulty ovulating, and menstrual disorders and infertility.
Mental and emotional factors are also important. TCM believes that the liver governs the emotions and is closely related to the nervous and endocrine systems, involved in regulating menstrual cycles, periods, and flow. If emotions are not smooth or stress is too high, it can lead to liver stagnation, qi stagnation, blood stasis, and menstrual disorders and ovulation disorders. In daily life, overeating sweet and greasy foods, lack of exercise, or frequent worrying can damage the spleen and stomach, causing weakness in qi and blood, making it difficult for eggs to mature, and phlegm dampness can lead to obesity and blockage of the uterus, making it difficult to conceive. TCM will provide different herbs and acupuncture points according to individual conditions to improve the condition of patients gradually.
Here, we would like to share with you a little helper in the uterine herbal massage, the “herbal pack.” The herbal pack contains herbs such as turmeric, curcumin, lavender, and lemongrass, which promote qi circulation, invigorate the liver, and soften blockages or eliminate chronic inflammation internally. The therapist can help you, and you can also do a home SPA by combining it with a foot bath.
To use it:
- Place the herbal ball in a pot and steam it for about 15-20 minutes.
- Take out the heated herbal ball and gently press it clockwise around the navel as gynecological care. If the herbal ball is too hot, you can wrap a towel around it and remove it when the temperature is just right.
- If the herbal ball feels too cool, put it back in the pot and heat it up again. (Pregnant women should use it with caution).