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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): Treatment in Chinese Medicine

PCOS is a common cause of irregular menstruation and infertility in women.


Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a female hormonal disorder with increased male hormone levels, insulin or both. This causes the growth of many small fluid-filled sacs on the ovaries, which become enlarged. It affects 8-13% of girls and women of reproductive age. (The Medical Journal of Australia).

Symptoms may include:

  • Irregular menstruation

  • Excessive body/ facial hair growth

  • Acne

  • Mood changes

  • Weight gain


Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Perspective on PCOS

In Chinese Medicine, PCOS belongs to the category of "Zheng Jia", meaning "abdominal mass", and is one of the more difficult diseases to treat, in Chinese Medicine's long history of treating gynaecological conditions. The root cause of PCOS in Chinese medicine terminology is "kidney qi deficiency" with "stagnation". This includes Qi stagnation, Blood stasis, Phlegm, Damp retention and Damp-Heat symptoms.

The Kidney is considered the root of congenital foundation in Chinese Medicine theory. The Kidney plays a role in the development of the brain, which includes the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovary relationship in regulating hormones for normal reproductive functions. Body fluid is affected when there is Kidney Deficiency, since fluid cannot be drained properly in the lower part of the body. Over time, the stagnant fluid turns to phlegm retention, and as a result contributes to obesity and enlarged ovaries. One of the functions of the Liver is to store Blood, and requires Kidney essence to assist with Blood production and maintain the quality of blood. Therefore, these stagnations contribute to symptoms such as light menstrual flow, fluid-filled follicles, amenorrhoea, irritability, dizziness and dry mouth.


PCOS is a chronic condition and can be difficult to treat. Therefore, regular acupuncture treatment and herbal prescriptions are highly recommended. It also requires patients to fully cooperate with long-term treatment plans to regulate their ovulation and menstrual cycle.



Lifestyle Adjustments & TCM Health Advice

Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet with regular workout to reduce body weight is important in the long-term management of PCOS. It can also reduce the risk of other health complications such as high cholesterol, high blood sugar and diabetes. It is also ideal to keep track of your BBT (basal body temperature) on a chart to predict ovulation period.


Types of food to avoid:

  • Chilled beverages and ice-cream

  • Foods that are cold in property (see below)




Q. Why should I avoid cold food and drinks?

Our core body temperature is between 36.5- 37.5 degrees, and this is important for the body to carry out vital functions. From a Chinese Medicine perspective, this body temperature is maintained by the yang energy, and it is the driving force for all visceral and its functions.

For example, ice-cream and cold drinks are considered cold and damp in property. Cold can further damage the yang energy in the body, especially kidney yang. Since PCOS is due to Kidney deficiency and stagnation, cold food and drinks should be avoided whenever possible. While each individual's tolerance to cold foods may vary, and may not immediately affect your health, it is important to be mindful of the possible long-term health impact.


If you are suffering from PCOS, or know of someone who are experiencing symptoms, feel free to contact us on (02) 9635 1715 or email yli.tcmclinic@gmail.com, for more information on how we can help you with your condition.

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