EXETER, ENGLAND — A course of acupuncture was followed by ovulation in a 32-year-old woman with oligomenorrhea and primary infertility of 6 years' duration, Dr. Jin Xu said at a health care symposium sponsored by the University of Exeter.
Before undergoing acupuncture, the patient had “very infrequent” menstrual periods, and transvaginal ultrasound revealed polycystic ovaries. The patient's luteinizing hormone to follicle-stimulating hormone ratio exceeded 3:1, as is typical in polycystic ovary syndrome, and her testosterone level was elevated at 3.7 nmol/L.
Five daily sessions of electroacupuncture were performed on acupoints Guanyuan (Ren 4), Zhongji (Ren 3), Zigong (Extra 16), and Sanyinjiao (Sp 6), said Dr. Xu of the University of Oxford (England). Each acupuncture session lasted 25 minutes.
After the course of acupuncture, endometrial thickness increased from 4.5 mm to 8 mm by day 16, and a menstrual bleed was induced, Dr. Xu said.
Treatment was repeated in the next menstrual cycle, and the patient subsequently began to have regular periods. Three months later, she conceived and delivered a healthy baby girl at term, Dr. Xu said.
“It is likely that the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovary axis is involved in acupuncture-driven ovulation induction, but the mechanisms involved remain unclear,” he said.
Limited research has been conducted in this area, and it is unclear whether an actual effect on ovulation exists, Dr. Xu cautioned, adding that a clear need exists for randomized, controlled trials.
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