Molly, age 33: I always suspected that I would have trouble conceiving. I had a history of very irregular cycles in my teens before starting the pill. When I discontinued the pill, I started to experience long cycles again and wasn't sure if or when I was ovulating. My Ob/Gyn diagnosed me with PCOS and prescribed clomid. We tried three clomid cycles without success before I needed a break, and I went to see Erika to help me get my body in balance. She taught me a lot about my hormonal imbalances with PCOS, and helped me to change my diet and take the right vitamins to help regulate my cycle. My cycle did improve and become more regular, and I experienced less acne and cravings than I had before. My husband and I decided to go back on clomid in conjunction with the acupuncture, and I got pregnant on my first cycle! I think the acupuncture and healthy living changes made a huge difference for me, and now I am 7 months into a very healthy pregnancy.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome, also known as polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD) affects 5 to 10 percent of women in North America, and is the leading cause of ovulatory based infertility.
Women with PCOS have high levels of male hormones (androgens), which interfere with the normal production of female hormones like estrogen. This results in the ovaries filling with cysts, and creates immature follicles that are unable to generate healthy eggs.
Some women with PCOS have no symptoms. More often, however, women will experience some or all of the following symptoms:
• Weight gain or obesity
• Lack of ovulation, or very late ovulation
• Irregular periods or complete absence of menstruation (amenorrhea)
• Acne on the face, neck, chest and back
• Excessive hair growth (hirsutism) or abnormal hair growth
• Enlarged ovaries covered with cysts
• Insulin resistance/hyperinsulinemia
• Increased androgens (male hormones)
If your medical doctor suspects that you have PCOS, he or she may recommend that you have a blood test to check for elevated LH (luteinizing hormone), serum testosterone levels, and insulin resistance, and an ultrasound of the ovaries to determine if cysts are present (about 20% of all women will have ovarian cysts visible on the ultrasound, so having cysts does not necessarily mean you have PCOS).
It is always important to look at the individual pattern that each PCOS patient presents with. As women with PCOS know, every woman is affected differently. Women with PCOS can have many different combinations of symptoms and patterns of menstruation and ovulation.
The Fertility Clinic takes into account all the signs and symptoms that are unique to your PCOS presentation to design a treatment plan specially targeted to bring your body back into balance. Treatment plans may combine acupuncture, diet, nutritional supplements, herbal formula, exercise, weight loss, and stress reduction techniques.
Our approach at The Fertility Clinic is to treat the underlying condition that is causing the hormonal imbalance as well as to alleviate symptoms. Typically a personalized treatment plan to re-balance hormones and regulate the menstrual period takes several months.
Many woman are able to regain regular cycles, ovulate regularly and conceive naturally with the help of our treatments and advice. Some women will still need to incorporate prescription medications into their fertility plan; we discuss this on a case by case basis. For these cases, incorporating a holistic treatment plan in conjunction with western treatment can help women with PCOS respond with less resistance to fertility treatments, and to more effectively develop healthy, mature eggs than with fertility drugs alone.
The Fertility Clinic is a specialty reproductive acupuncture center with expertise and experience in the treatment of female and male fertility.
Erika Foy is a board certified, reproductive acupuncture specialist with a strong commitment to the quality of care and support she provides to her patients.
The Fertility Clinic at Practice Longevity
4040 N. Calhoun Rd.
Brookfield, Wi 53005
The Fertility Clinic is located in Brookfield and provides acupuncture fertility services to the greater Milwaukee area of Wisconsin.
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