The efficacy of Tung's acupuncture for sex hormones in polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized controlled trial

Complement Ther Med. 2019 Jun:44:182-188. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2019.04.016. Epub 2019 Apr 24.


Background: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common and heterogeneous endocrine disorder in reproductive-age women. Tung's acupuncture, a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment, is widely used for PCOS in East Asia, but evidence on its efficacy is rare. The aim of this RCT study was to examine whether the Tung's acupuncture could be a complementary treatment method for PCOS.

Methods: A total of 60 PCOS patients were randomly assigned to a Tung's acupuncture group (n = 30) or a cyproterone acetate/ethinylestradiol (CPA/EE) group (n = 30). Each participant received treatments for 12 weeks to assess the short-term treatment efficacy and then followed up for another 12 weeks to assess the long-term treatment efficacy. The primary outcome examined was change in the ratio of luteinizing hormone (LH) to follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH); the secondary outcomes examined were changes in body mass index (BMI), LH, FSH, total testosterone (TT), ovarian volume, polycystic ovary number and menstrual frequency.

Results: Both groups showed significant reductions in the LH/FSH ratio, LH and TT after 12-week treatment (p < 0.001) and 12-week follow-up (p < 0.05). No significant differences existed between the two groups (p > 0.05). Both groups showed significant improvement in BMI, menstrual frequency and polycystic ovary number after 12-week treatment (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Compared with CPA/EE, Tung's acupuncture showed no better improvement on LH/FSH ratio for PCOS although it could reduce the ratio. Tung's acupuncture might have some effect on long-term weight control and menstruation frequency. Further studies addressing this study's limitations are recommended.

Keywords: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS); Randomized controlled trial (RCT); The ratio of luteinizing hormone to follicle-stimulating hormone (LH/FSH); Total testosterone (TT); Tung’s acupuncture.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture / methods
  • Acupuncture Therapy / methods
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cyproterone Acetate / therapeutic use
  • Drug Combinations
  • Ethinyl Estradiol / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / therapy*


  • Drug Combinations
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • Ethinyl Estradiol
  • Cyproterone Acetate
  • Cyproterone acetate, ethinyl estradiol drug combination