Scientific Research: Improved Fertility for Women with PCOS using Chinese Medicine
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone disorder that is characterized by elevated androgens, decreased insulin sensitivity (poor glucose regulation), difficulty with ovulation, irregular (or absence of) menstrual cycles. It may also be accompanied by obesity, diabetes, and a higher risk for certain mental health disorders.
PCOS makes it very difficult for many Women to conceive, making it a common cause of infertility. The common treatment for PCOS-related infertility is the use of clomiphene citrate (CC) to help induce ovulation. This medication has been shown to dramatically improve ovulatory rates in Women with PCOS, but has not been shown to improve the pregnancy rates to satisfactory rates. The use a newer generation medication, called letrozole, has shown improved ovulation rates and birth rates in patients with PCOS when compared to Women using CC.
The use of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has often been used to also improve the ovulation, pregnancy, and birth rates of women suffering from PCOS-related infertility. It involves the use of herbal medicine, acupuncture, and lifestyle/dietary counselling.
A meta-analysis reviewed a group of clinical trials to evaluate how effective TCM would be in Women who are using letrozole for their fertility treatment.
The meta-analysis found the following results:
- The use of TCM + Letrozole more than doubled the likelihood of ovulation when compared to Women who used letrozole alone
- The use of TCM + Letrozole more than tripled the likelihood of pregnancy when compared to Women who used letrozole alone
- The use of TCM + Letrozole improve the hormone balance (LH:FSH ratio) when compared to Women who used letrozole alone
The TCM treatments were used for at least 3 menstrual cycles prior to the cycle in which letrozole was used in the majority of the studies.
This article is in no way a replacement for medical advice or medical care, it is advised that anyone concerned about their Health should speak with their Naturopathic Doctor or Primary Care Provider.
Ma QW, Tan Y. Effectiveness of co-treatment with traditional Chinese medicine and letrozole for
polycystic ovary syndrome: a meta-analysis. J Integr Med. 2017 January; Epub ahead of print.