Purpose of review Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common reproductive disorder, which significantly impairs the fertility of 3–10% of women at reproductive age. It is getting very popular for women with PCOS to seek alternative therapies to treat PCOS, for example, acupuncture. This review examines the currently available evidence from the randomized controlled trial to guide future recommendation on using acupuncture to assist the treatment of PCOS.
Recent findings PCOS is manifested by oligo-amenorrhoea, infertility, and hirsutism. The standard treatment of PCOS includes oral pharmacological agents, lifestyle changes, and surgical modalities. Pharmacologically based therapies are only effective in 60% of the patients, which are also associated with different side-effects. As such, acupuncture offered an alternative option. Acupuncture can affect β-endorphin production, which may, in turn, affect gonadotropin-releasing hormone secretion and affecting ovulation and menstrual cycle. Therefore, it is postulated that acupuncture may induce ovulation and restore menstrual cycle via increasing β-endorphin production.
Summary Although modern medical science has discovered the action mechanisms underlying how acupuncture may manage the symptoms of PCOS, majority of the trials are small in sample size and lack of consistency in the choice of acupoints. Larger scale trials are needed to provide standardized protocols.