I was always a chunky kid growing up. Although I could have eaten healthier, I don’t recall eating more than the average growing kid. As time went on, my weight continued to creep up.
Another thing I also noticed was that menstruation was very irregular. There would be months where the bleeding continued. But there were also months that there was no menstruation.
The solution at the time was for me to take birth control pills to regulate the menstrual cycle. Birth control pills indeed regulated the cycle. However, it did not change the sugar cravings, nor did it change the weight gain.
I wanted to make a change and be healthier. I had never been an athletic person, but I knew that I needed to start exercising to make a difference in my health. I started running and lifting weights. This became my niche. I did indeed lose weight, but I still needed to change some things in my diet.
I tried many different diets. However, what I realized is that certain foods made me feel better when I ate them, and some foods made me feel worse. After trying many diets, I came to the conclusion that not all diets work for everyone. I found that eating the right foods for me made more sense than extreme dieting. This allowed eating food to not be a battle for me.
After exercising consistently for a few years, and continuing to learn about nutrition, I decided to become a personal trainer. I wanted to help others who needed that extra push to promote a healthy lifestyle. I enjoyed helping others with nutrition and fitness, so I continued to work in the fitness industry while going to school to learn Chinese Medicine. I learned that I could regulate hormones without the use of birth control, using Chinese Medicine.
After experiencing some unwanted side effects from birth control pills, I decided to stop taking birth control and after three months I did not have a menstrual cycle. I had learned about the reasons why this could happen, but was never diagnosed with any dysfunction. When I saw my gynecologist, she informed me that I had a disorder called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I was devastated.
PCOS or Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a very common female fertility condition in the world. It is characterized by high cholesterol, type two diabetes, obesity, acne, excess amounts of androgens in the body (leading to hair growth among others), and a lack of or irregular menstruation. Females can be diagnosed with PCOS as early as their teens, although it is often seen in women in their 20’s or 30’s.
The interruption of the ovarian cycle can cause the rise of PCOS. The follicle remains in the ovary instead of the ovary releasing an egg. Eventually, more and more follicles (which are not really cysts) accumulate. No released eggs lead to infertility. PCOS is widely believed to be the fault of too much insulin in the body, although strong evidence suggests that PCOS is in part a genetic disease. The insulin excess also causes the production of more androgens (male hormones) and this causes disruptions in the cycle of ovulation.
I knew that this disorder can have many unwanted symptoms, and that it could prevent me from having children. But it also explained so many symptoms I had brushed off for many years.
I decided to put Chinese Medicine to a test. I began acupuncture treatments, took Chinese Herbal medicine, and changed my diet according to Chinese Medicine protocol.
There are several ways acupuncture can help treat PCOS. In some studies, it was shown that several acupuncture treatments may result in the normalization of the hormonal cycle, which leads to a normal menstrual cycle and the lessening of androgen production by the body.
Acupuncture can also address the PCOS causing conditions of high cholesterol, and diabetes and help you to lose weight and treat your acne. The effectiveness of acupuncture is due to its multifaceted benefits on the body. This treatment helps improve lymph drainage, nerve conduction, and circulation as well as aid in the normalization of your sympathetic nervous system and the hormones.
Within a few months I noticed a huge change. Menstruation occurred, and I had more energy. I slept better than I had in the past. What I didn’t realize at the time was that PCOS diagnosis determined my career path. I never thought that being an overweight teenager with strange menstrual cycles could later on allow me to empathize with others who need help with the same disorder. I never thought that any of the strange symptoms that I used to have could be an advantage!
TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Treatments for PCOS and Its Explanation of the Disease
Because people are different constitutionally and experience differently from each other, TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) diagnosis is always unique for each person. Your diagnosis will be based on the pattern of excess or deficiency you are experiencing and on the kinds of symptoms you manifest.
The patterns of deficiency usually related to PCOS are Kidney deficiencies. The Kidney is where your life essence is stored. This essence is responsible for your age, your ability to reproduce, and your growth. Life essence is made up of Yin and Yang energy. PCOS caused by Kidney Yin deficiency can lead to symptoms such as a short ovulation cycle, low back pain, constipation, hot flashes, and night sweats. PCOS caused by Kidney Yang deficiency, on the other hand, will cause symptoms like a low sex drive, diarrhea, and an aversion to cold.
The excess patterns associated with PCOS will show as Blood Stasis or Dampness in the body, resulting in blockage in energy flow in your meridians or energy channels. When energy flow is blocked, the body often experiences pain and the inability of the body to release an egg during ovulation. Dampness symptoms that have accumulated in the body can lead to PCOS symptoms of diarrhea, headaches, dull stomach pain, and a general sensation of heaviness. PCOS caused by Blood stasis will manifest symptoms and signs such as a purplish tinge on your tongue, menstruation with clotting, and a stabbing sharp pain in your stomach.
The excess patterns associated with PCOS will show as Blood Stasis or Dampness in the body, resulting in blockage in energy flow in your meridians or energy channels. When energy flow is blocked, the body often experiences pain and the inability of the body to release an egg during ovulation.
Dampness symptoms that have accumulated in the body can lead to PCOS symptoms of diarrhea, headaches, dull stomach pain, and a general sensation of heaviness. PCOS caused by Blood stasis will manifest symptoms and signs such as a purplish tinge on your tongue, menstruation with clotting, and a stabbing sharp pain in your stomach.
What can you do?
Since insulin levels and PCOS are related to each other, it is important to exercise regularly and to regulate your diet even if you do not have diabetes. Complement your acupuncture treatment with a daily exercise regimen. Light exercise may address the deficiencies; for excess patterns, more intense forms of exercises are required.
A daily diet of whole grains and seven servings of vegetables and fruits is highly recommended for PCOS patients. Stay away from artificial sweeteners, white flour products, candy, and most refined foods. It is also recommended that you eat four or five small meals per day. It’s much better if you consume organic products, and you need to avoid dairy more so if you’re suffering from Dampness accumulation.
Thank You For Visiting Our Website
I want to thank you for visiting my website, and in return I’d like to offer you a coupon for a FREE Initial Exam ($85 value.) This coupon is good for one initial exam and limited to one coupon per person. If you, your friends, relatives or colleagues are ever in need of my services, please print out the coupon and bring it on your first visit.
Your no-cost, no-obligation initial exam includes:
- A relaxed consultation with the acupuncturist
- An individual health and injury history
- Extensive exams of pulses and the appearance of the tongue, eyes
- A discussion of findings and recommended treatments
If you have any questions send me an e-mail or call me at 904-260-2598. I’ll be happy to answer your questions and discuss your concerns.
Jamie Catlett , AP.
Board Certified and Licensed Jacksonville Acupuncturist
Jacksonville Acupuncture Clinic
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