The Power of Chinese Medicine in Treating PCOS
With Guest: Farrar Duro
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a complex of metabolic and hormonal imbalances. It not only causes menstrual irregularities, but also effects fertility, secondary sex characteristics, and can be related to elevated cholesterol and blood sugar levels as a woman ages.
While conventional biomedicine can control some of the symptoms of this disorder, there isn't much it offers in terms of getting to the root of the issue.
Chinese medicine on the other hand offers a wealth of possibilities that can help to get to the root of the causes and fundamentally shift a woman's physiology and bring balance to the body.
Our guest in this episode knows a lot about PCOS, as she suffered from this disorder and after being dismissed as a troublesome patient decided to see if she could find another way to heal. She did, and today she helps women find their own natural balance without the use of drugs or hormones.
In this conversation we discuss:
- What got Farrar interested in Chinese medicine
- Western perspective on PCOS
- Liver qi is often a factor with younger women, but later it becomes more of an issue with Spleen and Kidneys
- Chong and Ren are also frequently involved, as are the eight extras
- Evergreen Blossom has proven quite helpful in her practice
- Four phases to the cycle, each roughly one week. Week one is bleeding, week two nourishing kidney yin, week three is about focusing on kidney yang and week four involves moving liver qi.
- Be on the lookout for blood stasis
- Blood sugar and its relationship to PCOS
- Even after menopause, PCOS could be behind cholesterol levels and diabetes
- Helping patients recognize the milestones of progress
- Treating younger women that want to clear up acne and regulate their cycle
- Some signs of PCOS that you might easily overlook
- The power of looking at the whole picture instead of an individual number
- Farrar’s podcast
"When working with women with PCOS, the focus should be on working with her holistically with food therapy, Chinese herbs to help regulate her cycle, and regular acupuncture treatments to encourage better HPO axis communication and blood flow (Yintang/GV 20 combo is my favorite in addition to extraordinary vessel treatment!)"
I remember like it was yesterday…the moment I decided to make a major change in the course of my life and pursue Chinese medicine studies. In the dark ages of the mid-to-late 1990's, before Google and Wikipedia, I was in undergraduate school and had no clue what was wrong with me.
I decided to seek help.
Four different gynecologists had all told me the same thing…that birth control was my only answer. If only it had been so simple. As luck would have it, my body responds to birth control a bit like someone recovering from a hangover.
Which brings me to the moment that changed my life. I was struck by a flying pack of birth control pills literally hurled at my head by my gynecologist and was told not to come back unless I'd taken the whole pack. I wasn't crazy…I was angry, and I knew there had to be a better approach.
That fateful gyno visit was nearly 20 years ago, but I still remember it so clearly because that day I made a promise to myself. I left that office in tears but I vowed to find an answer and to help other women when I did. At the age of 19, I left my premed studies and started acupuncture school. I discovered that what I was experiencing (undiagnosed PCOS) could be helped naturally and within six months I was having normal cycles for the first time in my life.
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I’ve heard it said that for something to be heard — it takes someone to speak and another to listen.
Acupuncturist, Podcast Host
I've always been more drawn to questions than answers. And the practice of medicine seems to more lively when infused with a sense of curiosity and inquiry. It's been delight and honor to be able to discuss our medicine with so many thoughtful and skilled practitioners.