Medical Research

PCOS and Acupuncture: Sham versus True

Kristen Sparrow • December 16, 2011

Bottom line, no difference. Both help the LH to FSH ratio

True and sham acupuncture produced similar frequency of ovulation and improved LH to FSH ratios in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
Pastore LM, Williams CD, Jenkins J, Patrie JT.J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Oct;96(10):3143-50. Epub 2011 Aug 3.

Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.
Acupuncture may represent a nonpharmaceutical treatment for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), based on four studies.

The objective of the study was to determine whether true, as compared with sham, acupuncture normalizes pituitary gonadotropin hormones and increases ovulatory frequency in women with PCOS.
This was a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled clinical trial (5 month protocol).
Intervention included 12 sessions of true or sham acupuncture (Park sham device) for 8 wk.
Serum LH and FSH at baseline, after intervention, and 3 months later were measured. Ovulation was measured with weekly urine or blood samples.
RESULTS:Both arms demonstrated a similar mean ovulation rate over the 5 months (0.37/month among n = 40 true acupuncture and 0.40/month among n = 44 sham participants, P = 0.6), similar LH to FSH ratio improvement (-0.5 and -0.8 true and sham, respectively, P < 0.04 after intervention vs. baseline) and a similar decline in LH over the 5-month protocol (P < 0.05). Neither arm experienced a change in FSH. There were seven pregnancies (no difference by intervention, P = 0.7). Lower fasting insulin and free testosterone were highly correlated with a higher ovulation rate within the true acupuncture group only (P = 0.03), controlling for prestudy menstrual frequency and body mass index.
We were unable to discern a difference between the true and sham acupuncture protocols for these women with PCOS, and both groups had a similar improvement in their LH/FSH ratio.

Again, depends on your model whether it was a real sham or not.
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