Polycystic ovaries according to Chinese Medicine

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In Chinese Medicine, polycystic ovaries can be associated with five so-called "patterns of disharmony". Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted. It is not equivalent to the Western concept of "disease", as a matter of fact here polycystic ovaries can be caused by five different patterns.

To understand whether someone's polycystic ovaries might be caused by a given pattern, one needs to look for signs and symptoms associated with the pattern beyond what one might typically experience from polycystic ovaries alone. For instance when polycystic ovaries is caused by the pattern Blood Stagnation and Phlegm in the Uterus, patients also experience symptoms such as persistent uterine bleeding of purple or dark blood, lower abdominal distension and pain that increases with pressure, fibroids and cysts in the lower abdomen and painful period.

We've listed below a description of the five patterns associated with polycystic ovaries so that you can start to get an understanding of the various possibilities according to Chinese Medicine.

Once identified, patterns are often treated using herbal formulas. Drinking herbal infusions is the most common remedy in Chinese Medicine, together with acupuncture. Here we detail below three formulas that can help treat the various patterns associated with polycystic ovaries, depending on which pattern fits your profile.

The five "patterns of disharmony" associated with polycystic ovaries

Blood Stagnation in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels

Polycystic ovaries might be due to Blood Stagnation in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as irregular menstruation, brown vaginal discharge, dark clots in menstrual blood and painful period. Similarly, patients with Blood Stagnation in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels typically exhibit choppy (Se) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a bluish-purple tongue.

Read more about Blood Stagnation in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels here

The Bladder is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Bladder in Chinese Medicine

Heat Excess in the Liver or Gallbladder

Polycystic ovaries might be due to Heat Excess in the Liver or Gallbladder if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as fixed pain in the hypochondria, headaches, dizziness and red and sore eyes. Similarly, patients with Heat Excess in the Liver or Gallbladder typically exhibit full (Shi) pulses as well as a red tongue with yellow coating.

Read more about Heat Excess in the Liver or Gallbladder here

Full Cold in the Directing and Penetraing Vessels

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Slow (Chi), Tight (Jin)

Tongue color: Bluish-Purple, Pale

Recommended herbal formula: Wen Jing Tang

Symptoms: Infertility Late period Painful period Cold in the lower abdomen Dark clots in menstrual blood Abdominal pain after childbirth

Polycystic ovaries might be due to Full Cold in the Directing and Penetraing Vessels if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as painful period, cold in the lower abdomen, infertility and late period. Similarly, patients with Full Cold in the Directing and Penetraing Vessels typically exhibit deep (Chen), slow (Chi) or tight (Jin) pulses as well as a bluish-purple, pale tongue.

Read more about Full Cold in the Directing and Penetraing Vessels here

Dampness and Phlegm in the Uterus

Polycystic ovaries might be due to Dampness and Phlegm in the Uterus if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as late period, painful period, dark clots in menstrual blood and brown vaginal discharge. Similarly, patients with Dampness and Phlegm in the Uterus typically exhibit choppy (Se), deep (Chen), slow (Chi) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a bluish-purple tongue.

Read more about Dampness and Phlegm in the Uterus here

The three herbal formulas that might help with polycystic ovaries

Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Promotes Blood and lymphatic circulation, thus eleminates Blood Stagnation. Softens and resolves hard lumps such as cysts and fibroids.

Why might Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan help with polycystic ovaries?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help with the patterns Blood Stagnation and Phlegm in the Uterus and Blood Stagnation in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels which are sometimes associated with polycystic ovaries. If any of these patterns look like something you might suffer from, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan here

Wen Jing Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Uterus and vessels. Nourishes Blood. Dispels Cold. Dispels Blood Stagnation.

Why might Wen Jing Tang help with polycystic ovaries?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help with the patterns Full Cold in the Directing and Penetraing Vessels and Dampness and Phlegm in the Uterus which are sometimes associated with polycystic ovaries. If any of these patterns look like something you might suffer from, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Wen Jing Tang here

Long Dan Xie Gan Tang

Source date: 1682 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and Fire from the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears and drains Damp-Heat from the Lower Burner.

Why might Long Dan Xie Gan Tang help with polycystic ovaries?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Heat Excess in the Liver or Gallbladder, a pattern sometimes associated with polycystic ovaries. If it looks like you might suffer from Heat Excess in the Liver or Gallbladder, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Long Dan Xie Gan Tang here