The Most Common Mistakes with PCOS [Podcast] - PCOS Diva
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The Most Common Mistakes with PCOS [Podcast]

PCOS Podcast No. 111 - Dr. FarrarAcupuncture is really helpful. It brings the body back into balance without forcing it. That’s the beauty of it. I really like having an approach that does not have side effects and that can actually work with your body instead of against it. – Dr. Farrar Duro

I admit, acupuncture was one of my last resort therapies when I was really struggling with PCOS. I had tried countless pharmaceuticals and diets, but when I went to acupuncture, I saw a real difference. Dr. Farrar Duro practices reproductive acupuncture and shares some of the most common mistakes women make when living with PCOS. Tune in as we discuss those mistakes as well as:

  • What to ask your doctor about your labs and treatment options
  • The question to ask before you start any diet
  • How Chinese medicine and acupuncture can help PCOS symptoms
  • Resource for finding an acupuncturist

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Mentioned in this podcast:

The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

Complete Transcript:

Amy Medling:                    Today we’re talking to Dr. Farrar Duro. She practices reproductive acupuncture at Florida Complete Wellness in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

After overcoming her own struggles with PCOS and endometriosis using a combination of traditional Chinese medicine and other natural methods, she has felt a tremendous joy in sharing her methods with other women, and she founded the PCOS Revolution Academy.

I discovered Dr. Farrar through her really great podcasts, the PCOS Revolution, which I was honored to be a guest on recently, and I’m really honored to have her to reciprocate and have her on the PCOS Diva Podcast. Welcome, Dr. Farrar.

Dr. Farrar Duro:                Thank you so much for having me. I’m honored.

Amy Medling:                    I think you have some interesting perspective because you are an acupuncturist and I know for me, acupuncture was sort of one of my last resort therapies when I was really feeling crappy with PCOS. I had tried so many different pharmaceuticals and trying to eat different ways, and went to acupuncture and saw a real difference, especially in, I think probably it really regulated my cortisol levels and helped me with my adrenals.

I have a feeling that you see women sort of at all different areas of their PCOS journey, but certainly when they’re frustrated and kind of have lost all hope. I would love for you to share, we had to kind of just talked about this, about the mistakes that you see women make in their PCOS journey. I think you could really shed some light on that for us.

Dr. Farrar Duro:                They are the last house on the block, acupuncture speaking. A lot of people will come to an acupuncture treatment because they tried so many other things that have just not been working for them. Year after year, when I would notice the pattern of, a lot of times when we’re going to go through, it broke my heart a lot of times to see the suffering that’s been going on.

I decided to really hone in on some key areas that could be avoided if we actually made women aware of them. I put together a list of some very important points that I think should be shared.

I really think this is such important work that you’re doing to just get the message out there that there’s so many options. It’s not just birth control in that said sort of quick fix. There are multifaceted treatments for PCOS and acupuncture is one of them and it’s of course thousands of years old, acupuncture has been used for and women’s health issues since the Song Dynasty. Going back 700 A.D or so, you have texts that are actually written on TCM or Chinese medicine, gynecology.

It’s evolved over centuries and to what we have now. I think that it’s eye-opening to really look at all the different success stories that you’ve gone through and other women who have PCOS overcome it, myself included. Yeah, I’m happy to share those.

Amy Medling:                    I’m just curious, was your PCOS journey, was that sort of inspired you to become a Chinese medicine practitioner?

Dr. Farrar Duro:                Yeah, actually I started out premed. I went to school, at 17 I decided I have eight doctors in my family, and I just always thought I’m going into medicine. I went, and a couple of years into it, I decided to do a research project on acupuncture and drug addiction, actually, for a psychology course. I was fascinated.

Actually, this is a long time ago, it was before Google, so I was in the medical library just reading all I could. There were about 20 books on acupuncture. I was fascinated with it. I said, I don’t know what this is, but this is pretty incredible if this does what this says this does. I wrote my paper, got an “A” and I really was just fascinated with it and I couldn’t get out of my mind because I loved working with plants and herbs as a child. I was very into herbs and making my own tinctures for acne and all that stuff.

I decided I want to go to school for this. I’ve never had it. In Alabama, we don’t have a lot of acupuncture, even now, so I’d never even experienced a treatment. I left premed school, much to my family’s dismay, I said, I’m going to acupuncture school, guys. I moved to Florida and I started school, and I just fell in love with it.

My symptoms cleared up because basically when I was in premed, I had gone to several gynecologist since my cycles were horrendous. When I would have them, maybe it was like two to three months sometimes apart, they would be so painful. It was debilitating. It was not nothing really that I could do. I just assume, well, maybe this is how most people feel. I really didn’t know that it was that unusual, honestly.

I go to the gynecologist and they said, well look, just take birth control. I did try that, and I became violently ill with birth control. My body just totally rejected it. About the fourth time I went to a different gynecologist, he actually threw the birth control pills at my head. He said, here, take this and if you don’t take it, don’t bother coming back. At that point, I just broke down. I was like, I can’t go through this anymore, and I know I can’t be the only one going through this.

That’s my whole, I guess my pivot, when I decided to go to Chinese medicine school. I said I really can’t see myself going through this for the rest of my life. Yeah. I was amazed when I started getting treatments. I’m like, oh my God, this is how I’m supposed to feel, that’s crazy.

Then, I decided I really wanted to do this to help other women actually know what this feels like, and that you can have normal cycles, you can feel better emotionally, you don’t have to suffer with pain. Within about six months, my cycles normalized.

I went to China, I discovered a Chinese herbal formula that was right for me, and that subsequently helped me have my children. That’s what I really wanted to focus on for the rest of my life, pretty much.

Amy Medling:                    Oh, what a great story. Thank you so much for the work that you do. I know that it’s helping so many women. I really see a parallel in our journeys., especially around the pill being one of the pivot, point because like you, I couldn’t tolerate it and it sort of led me on my journey as well to find PCOS Diva. I’m thinking that that might be one of the mistakes on your lists that women putting hope into some type of magic pill to help their PCOS.

Dr. Farrar Duro:                Yes. It is number two on my list. It probably should be number one because what women are not told is that taking birth control over time can lead to increased insulin resistance, which, if you have a history of diabetes in your family or you do have PCOS, you’re at a bigger risk obviously of insulin resistance. Unless you’re given another drug to help with that, you have weight gain and all kinds of stuff going on. Even though your acne might clear up maybe temporarily, it’s still not addressing the underlying causes.

In my case, I knew that wasn’t a long-term solution. A lot of women who come in don’t want to be on the birth control pill. They say, look, if there’s another option, I’ll take it. I read this study, 90% of women who have PCOS would rather have another option other than birth control for their symptoms. That says volumes right there. I really think that there’s nothing wrong if you’re using that for conception care, that sort of thing, but if you are using it to take control of your PCOS symptoms …

We had someone come in this week who was on it 30 years and she’s 45 now and trying to come off birth control, and she’s terrified, and it becomes a crutch, I think after a while. How much is it really helping us? That’s something to consider.

Amy Medling:                    Wow. 30 years is a long time.

Dr. Farrar Duro:                Even her doctor saying it’s time to come off. It could be scary. It can be terrifying if you’ve been on it for that long, what is your body going to look like? What are your symptoms going to be? I’ll say we’ve helped so many women come off of it, and definitely, you don’t have to be afraid. It’s not going to be as bad as you think, nine times out of 10.

Amy Medling:                    Yeah. Are you familiar with doctor Jolene Brighten? She’s done a lot of work around helping women kind of detox and come off the pill. She just wrote a book called Beyond the Pill.

Dr. Farrar Duro:                I think I’ve heard of that. Yes.

Amy Medling:                    Women that are listening, that’s a good resource if you’re thinking about coming off the pill.

Tell us about some of the other kind of ways that women with PCOS can improve upon to get better care.

Dr. Farrar Duro:                One of the top mistakes that we see are basically not asking enough questions to their doctor. If you are going into your appointment, and you are going in for the first time to a new gynecologist and your period is irregular and you’re given the standard care, which is basically just basic blood work. Sometimes you don’t really get a whole deep hormone panel or nutrient panel and that sort of thing depending on where you’re going, and you kind of leave with birth control, and there’s really not much else. They might not even tell you that you have PCOS, and that has been what we’ve seen.

A lot of times with women, we’ve actually had women go through infertility treatment, never being told they have PCOS. That blew my mind when that was happening. I think that some providers don’t really think it’s as important. They think, well, it’s just going to be fixed with medication. That’s all you really have to do. Which, we know that’s not the case.

I think that asking questions like, what did my labs tell you? And can I have a copy of my labs so that I could share it with other providers? Perhaps your acupuncturist or your functional medicine doctor or your counselors, your nutritionist. They need to see that, too. Remember that everything you do is part of you. You own that blood work, so you have a right to get a copy of that. Any ultrasounds you have done, definitely get a copy of that.

Then, ask them, what types of treatment could I try before taking medication? Because nine times out of 10 there’s other options, but that’s just not on the table if you have a five minute appointment. You have to be the squeaky wheel and ask these questions.

Then, finally ask, how long should I wait to retake my labs before I find out how well this treatment is working? Even if you’re going to a naturopath, you’re taking supplements. How long are you going to wait to find out if those supplements are working? Maybe you need to tweak something. PCOS is definitely not straight forward a lot of times. With our patients, we need to repeat blood work if we find something’s abnormal. What about the thyroid? All those things.

We have a list of tests, and I know you have lists of tests that you would love to have women get done. I think that’s important because for a PCOS, not every practitioner is going to be familiar with what type of blood work you need to have. If you are going to someone who is a specialist in PCOS, that’s a different story, but if you’re going to your provider, who is not as familiar, you probably need to do a little bit more research before going into that appointment, and then leave there with at least a list of questions that you’ve had some answers to, for sure.

Amy Medling:                    That’s excellent advice. I like to keep a three ring binder with my lab results in there, and then you can see, as you mentioned, how supplements and affects your labs over time, if you sort of keep a running record of them. I know I saw my testosterone levels improve dramatically as a result of lifestyle change, but you can’t do that if you’re not requesting your labs. I think that’s such an important part of managing your care.

Dr. Farrar Duro:                Definitely. It’s okay to have that conversation. If your provider is on the other side saying, I’m not willing to order those for you, I don’t really have any answers to your questions, then it’s time to seek another opinion, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It might take you a few providers until you find the right one, and that’s okay. It’s really being comfortable with who you’re going to and also taking that initiative. I like keeping the journal and keeping track of your labs yourself, for sure.

Amy Medling:                    Do you think that doctors just don’t know how to diagnose PCOS, or do you think that they’re missing women that don’t have that classic form? They’re sort of just diagnosing by sight, I guess.

Dr. Farrar Duro:                Yeah, definitely. A lot of times, since the new criteria came out, I mean, it seems like it would be more straight forward, but there’s still some debate sometimes among different practitioners about who has PCOS. Some practitioners think you still have to see it on an ultrasound, and that’s not true.

There are definitely different presentations, too, as a lot of women who are older. Actually, I worked with an IVF clinic in the past who, they basically said, well, if you are approaching menopause or if you’re done having kids, there’s really no reason to diagnose PCOS, which we know is … Wow. I was really shocked to hear that because definitely we have to focus on other things.

We’re not just focused on fertility with PCOS. There’s so many other cardiovascular and diabetes or us that go up, especially when you get into your late 40s and 50s, early 50s. Teenagers, it’s going to look different. So yeah, there needs to be more education around the presentation of PCOS as you get older or also as you get into your teenage years.

Amy Medling:                    Asking the right questions at the doctor’s office, looking at solutions outside of the birth control, don’t just take that as the only thing that’s available to you for managing PCOS. What are some other common mistakes that you’re seeing that women make?

Dr. Farrar Duro:                Well, I mean I think that we always emphasize on number three is blaming yourself, on our little list, because if you are diagnosed with PCOS, sometimes the immediate response is like, I did something to cause this. Having PCOS is definitely not your fault. There is nothing that you did to cause your PCOS symptoms. In my experience, definitely, there’s a really strong genetic link and you have probably had PCOS since you were born. Things just happened to actually bring that to the symptoms out a lot of times and exacerbate them.

We know that there’s no way you can just wave a magic wand and say, okay, you’re cured, but over time, there’s definitely ways to reverse the symptoms.

We know that personally with our practice for the last 20 years, we’ve seen it time and time again. Sometimes just knowing that you are empowered now because you know what’s wrong with you, I think that’s really powerful to take that blame away.

Sometimes we have patients where they have three generations of PCOS, and so they know already, okay, well yeah, my mom did have it. You know what? They probably dealt with it in other ways and they got pregnant with you and they were able to make their own changes. Definitely, we create our own paths, but there’s no room for blame there at all.

Amy Medling:                    That’s such a good point. I think that women with PCOS, feel kind of at the core that they’re not enough, that struggling with fertility, struggling with these symptoms that make you feel less feminine. I know I felt this way, felt really less than, and that it was something that I did, that it was my fault in some way.

I just did an interview podcast with Dr. Felice Gersh. She has a new book out called, PCOS SOS, and she frames it in a really great way. She talks about how PCOS is a syndrome that actually benefited kind of the ancient woman. It was really almost a survival mechanism, but because now we’re not living in that kind of hunter gatherer era, that the modern era is tough on our PCOS genes, and we kind of just have to kind of go back to some of the ways of living that were beneficial to our PCOS genes in terms of diet and not eating as many processed foods.

It’s the way that she frames, that I think is really a healthy way that it’s just we need to learn to kind of live with our genes in this modern world, in a more productive way.

Dr. Farrar Duro:                Definitely. According to an endocrinologist I interviewed a while back, he said, we’re the perfect woman because evolutionary wise, probably, we were the warriors. We were getting stuff done.

Over time, yeah, we were never meant to sit at a computer all day. I really don’t think our bodies were never designed that way. We have so much readily available processed foods, too. It’s hard.

The book I’m reading now, I know you didn’t ask me about a book, but I want to bring up the Slight Edge. I don’t know if you’ve read it, but it tells you about the little changes that you make throughout your day and how those little changes at up to bigger changes throughout the months and then really much bigger changes throughout the year.

Whenever you start anything, like an exercise program or anything like that, at first, we want to see immediate results and then we can blame ourselves when we don’t see those results. I know I’ve become very impatient sometimes with myself, like, how come I’m not at the weight that I want to be? Or I’m not doing this, that sort of thing? It’s not evident immediately. I think I’m blaming yourself can actually slow you down and it can also derail you.

Then, this book, it actually goes through the little changes that add up to over time. I think taking a long-term approach to PCOS and saying, I’m not there this month. I’m not at the weight I want to be, or my skin, doesn’t look the way I want it to be today. Three months from now, or a year from now even, imagine how I will feel and how it look if I keep doing what I’m doing, and start to really implement these little changes”.

Amy Medling:                    That’s such a great approach. Can tell us the name of the book again?

Dr. Farrar Duro:                Sure. It’s called the Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, and it’s one of these books that you just want to kind of refer to from time and time again. You can read it three or four times probably. It’s still really good. I don’t know. I just feel a lot of inspiration every time I read it because it can help you in those times where you’re beating yourself up.

Amy Medling:                    You are enough, and PCOS is not your fault. What else are you seeing in your practice?

Dr. Farrar Duro:                Well, when we talk about, just as we were speaking about diets, it can really be an issue, too, because a lot of our patients would like to lose weight quickly sometimes, and they are seeing a lot of fad diets that are offering quick results or promising quicker results. What I tell them is I want you to visualize something you can see yourself doing when you’re 80, and if you can see yourself doing Keto or you can see yourself doing other things until you’re 80, then that’s right for you. That’s great. If that’s something that you can really see doing long term.

I don’t think that a lot of the billions of diets that are out there, really, the whole purpose sometimes is to market, to sell a book, or to sell a program and that sort of thing. That’s something that I think is really unfortunate because they set you up for failure, most of them, I think. We see a time and time again.

I think that it’s just really, really cluing into what your body needs and making sure that you have enough nutrients. When we do nutrient testing after someone’s come off of the sides, we can see that they are depleted in a lot of key nutrients that are just not part of what they were doing.

So, yeah. I mean, it is challenging, but it has to be sustainable. Following a diet plan that fails is really one of the bigger things that we see with patients who are coming in for weight loss with PCOS, or that sort of thing. We try to get off the diet mindset and actually end up increasing the amount of food that they’re eating.

Amy Medling:                    Yeah. I remember several years ago, it seems like a lot of women with PCOS were doing the HCG diet. It was 500 calories a day, and it really messed with their hormones and caused a lot of problems, I think, with the appetite hormone.

Dr. Farrar Duro:                Yes.

Amy Medling:                    Yeah. I love that idea of sustainability. I think that’s a great question. Can you see yourself doing this at 80? That’s a great-

Dr. Farrar Duro:                Right. Yeah. I hope that we’re all eating awesome, healthy whole foods when we’re 80. I’m blessed to be doing that and not having to follow any crash diets. Nothing wrong with intermittent fasting sometimes, too, but I see that some people are fasting really long, or days and days at a time, and I think that’s not going to be good in the long run either. We get asked a lot about that.

I’ve done a lot of research into intermittent fasting and insulin resistance, and what we say is once a week from 7:00 to 7:00, perhaps you can avoid eating and that sort of thing, 7:00 PM to 7:00 AM. If you’d like to do that, if you have a lot of weight to lose, then that might be something that you can try. If you’re going 15 or 18 hours without eating, I just can’t see that that’s going to be sustainable either in the long-term.

Amy Medling:                    I know I’ve had the most success with the intermittent fasting after dinner.

Dr. Farrar Duro:                Yeah.

Amy Medling:                    … morning. It wasn’t as easy for me when I was really insulin resistant. I would wake up in the middle of the night, I think, with really low blood sugar dips and it kind of wreaked havoc on my sleep. As I became more insulin sensitive, I was able to go longer periods of time without eating. I think it’s, again, all of these diets, it’s not a one size fits all approach. You have to figure out what works best for your body.

Dr. Farrar Duro:                Definitely. For someone who needs to lose like five or 10 pounds or just manage their weight, there’s going to be different approaches that you could take. If there were one diet that was right for everybody, then there wouldn’t be any other diets out there, I guess. I think we always emphasize whole foods and more vegetables and as much variety as we can do. That’s something that …

When we look at our patients that have high cholesterol with PCOS, we have to watch out for red meat a lot of times, too much red meat. A lot of times we have endometriosis that’s coexisting with PCOS, so we’re really careful of that. Trying to incorporate clean foods and organic foods.

Just things like that, I think if we can go back to common sense. I know it’s not like it’s not super exciting to say these things, but it’s just something that we need to get back to, and we see it working time and time again, where the weight loss sustains, it doesn’t come back, the weight gain, so that’s the important thing.

Amy Medling:                    I definitely want you to talk to us a little bit more about Chinese medicine and acupuncture, and how that could help women with PCOS.

Dr. Farrar Duro:                Definitely. With a Chinese medicine, when we talk about weight loss, we have patients who come in. It’s interesting, for acupuncture, for weight loss and hormonal balance, but then they don’t realize that they do have PCOS a lot of times. So we’d look at, what can we do in Chinese medicine to help the spleen and the stomach? Those are the channels involved.

A lot of times with our metabolism and Chinese medicine and when we look at PCOS, we see a different combination of usually blood stasis, which is in Chinese most considered to be something that can manifest as pain or blockage, and it could be in the lower abdomen a lot of times where there’s pain when ovulation happens or when the period does come, it’s clotty and it’s heavy, sometimes bleeding for many, many days, and kind of dark, not bright red.

We used the period like our report card and Chinese medicine. We’re going to ask a lot of questions, and the first visit is going to be very detailed, actually have people point to the color of their menstrual blood on the intake form because I want to make sure that we can actually use the right herbs as well, and address them with the right points, and that sort of thing.

We use the period as another diagnostic tool along with the tongue and the pulse and also, I use the basal body temperature and that can tell us a lot of things according to Chinese medicine as well.

We can see how the kidney function is. Our kidney energy is our reproductive energy and Chinese medicine. We can see if the temperatures are always low, that could signify a kidney efficiency, or we could have also, you can think of it like a thyroid issue, too, sometimes, where we’re looking at it from both lenses.

I use a lot of integration in my practice. I like to look at lab work, and I also look at the Chinese medicine portion as well of using the tongue and the pulse to diagnose the different types of patterns.

Then, we also look at everything we have available to us. I think that’s the beauty of practicing Chinese medicine in his age. We can look at all different aspects and then create a treatment plan that’s customized for that particular patient instead of a one size fits all treatment.

There are foods that actually are beneficial in Chinese medicine for PCOS, depending on, looking at if the spleen is not functioning as it should. This doesn’t mean that the physiological spleen, it’s basically the channel that runs down the body, and it’s called the spleen channel. It actually originates at the large toe and goes all the way through, into the reproductive system.

You have points that actually are going to be very beneficial for cycle regulation on that particular channel. Every week, we actually can do a different Chinese formula because those herbs are going to be directed towards different functions.

The week of your period, we’re going to be treating you a little differently than the week that you’re ovulating. When we use a four step process with the Chinese herbal formulas that we use, we use one called blossom. Blossom is actually a four stage formula that’s going to be a different formula for each week. You have the period phase, and the second week we’ll be follicular. So it’s helping with the folliculogenesis and helping with, in general, helping with egg quality over time.

The third week is our ovulatory phase, hopefully, and the fourth week is our luteal phase. Those herbs are going to be different. They’re acting differently according to where we are in our cycle. If you have somebody who has never had a cycle on their own, that particular approach is so beneficial because they actually began to articulate on their own with those herbs and with that treatment.

It’s really helpful. It kind of brings the body back into balance without forcing it. That’s the beauty of it. I really like having an approach that does not have side effects and that can actually work with your body instead of against it.

Amy Medling:                    Yeah. To remind people that a pill bleed isn’t really a period.

Dr. Farrar Duro:                Right.

Amy Medling:                    … is to be able to stimulate those hormones so that you can have a real period and ovulate, which is so important.

Dr. Farrar Duro:                We had a little quick story, example of this as we had a patient who she never ovulated on her own. She never had a period on her own. She also had problems with an eating disorder due to PCOS, which made her cycle even more nonexistent. She actually tried IVF, and IVF didn’t work. She didn’t stimulate at all.

She came to us after the IVF failed, and it was a very difficult case, and I actually referred her to another IVF doctor simultaneously. I said, let’s just see what we can do, it’s going to take a little while to get in, but we’ll start working with herbs and acupuncture until you see this person.

What happened was she got pregnant naturally. Just using acupuncture nerve, she was able to that, and then it happened once again. It was three months. Then she actually had her appointment at the IVF center and the doctor said, you’re pregnant. Did you know that? Then she came back after she had her baby, and again, we said, okay, I don’t think this is going to happen. Again, that was probably a very wonderful fluke, but we’ll do our same routine with herbs and acupuncture, and it happened again. Within three months she was pregnant again.

I always joke that she really never still had a period with it. She had one period both times, just one time. She had a period and then became pregnant. I think that you can really do so many things. It’s not that one system of medicine is perfect, but a lot of times where there’s gaps in western medicine, eastern medicine can actually fill in those gaps and vice versa.

Amy Medling:                    What a great story. In the beginning part of the podcast, I was talking about how acupuncture really has helped me with managing my stress and helping support my adrenals. I know that it’s a wonderful modality for helping with IVF and reproduction. Can you tell us some other ways that acupuncture help your PCOS patients?

Dr. Farrar Duro:                I mean, the biggest shift I see is that it’s a mental shift. It’s basically the sympathetic nervous system calms, and that they realize, okay, I’m not running from a monster. This is doable. I can handle my stress and my body can actually relax into the parasympathetic, instead of always being in a sympathetic mode, a fight or flight response.

That tends to happen with acupuncture within a few treatments. Obviously we work a lot with IVF, and we see patients who are trying to prepare for a cycle, but we also see that that calming effect that happens when someone comes in for anxiety or depression. We see this even in younger girls. All of a sudden, they’re not as stressed anymore about the things that used to bother them. They’re like, well, it’s still there, but it kind of slides off easier.

Dr. Farrar Duro:                I don’t know if you noticed that with your treatment, but it’s not like you don’t care, but you’re just not as freaked out about it anymore. I think that it’s a big benefit to it.

Amy Medling:                    Yeah. I think this last year has been tough for me because if you to my podcasts, I’ve shared about my son who had a very scary diagnosis and had to have a really brutal surgery this past summer. I was stuck in that fight or flight response. I could not get myself out of it, and acupuncture has really helped me to kind of move into that rest and digest or the parasympathetic, when everything else just wasn’t working for me.

I see that. I think it’s, like you said, a great tool for anxiety and so many women with PCOS suffer from anxiety.

Dr. Farrar Duro:                Definitely. I’m glad that it helped you. I feel like if more people knew about that, maybe they would not be on medication so much, because a lot of patients come in, they are on medications for depression and they’re gaining weight also. We know that it’s a hormonal issue a lot of times with PCOS. It’s even been said by psychologists and psychiatrists, maybe antidepressants are not the first line of treatment you should think about for depression with PCOS. Obviously, that’s very significant.

We’ve had patients come in who are suicidal with PCOS. Obviously, we’re going to be working with a joint effort with their psychiatrist and therapist and all kinds of intense programs, but acupuncture can be added to that regimen. I think eventually, with the help of the other practitioners, if that person wants to eventually come off of those medications, it’s a great …

That’s actually the reason why I studied it was for drug addiction. I mean, I saw how it was working for people who are addicted to heroin, coming off of heroin with acupuncture. I was amazed. That influence on the brain, there’s something that helps the dopamine response and helps with the neurotransmitters. That really fascinates me about this medicine.

Amy Medling:                    For those listening that would like to try acupuncture, but are afraid of the needles, ease their minds.

Dr. Farrar Duro:                Right. Yeah, that’s the thing we get a lot of times. The fear of needles is kind of ingrained in a lot of us. What we do say is that the needles that most acupuncturists use, they’re the size of your hair. They are mostly, for the most part, so thin that you can barely see them. It’s nothing like a hypodermic needle or injection. It’s basically, they could probably fit inside a hypodermic needle. That’s how tiny they are.

What a lot of times we do, is we offer a face down treatment the first time because you’re not even looking at the needles, you’re able to relax. We use a little bit of meditation, some lavender, kind of just ease into it a little bit. I think that also taking some deep breaths and knowing that it’s probably way worse than you think it is.

The funny part is some people come in with tattoos and they were like, is this going to hurt him? I’m like, believe me, you have a tattoo, there’s no comparison. It’s like a mosquito bite, if anything, or nothing at all, really. Definitely, step out of your comfort zone a little bit.

Now, we have the ABORM, which is the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine. You can go on their website, you can type in your state or your country, and they have practitioners all over the world. We are part of that myself, we are trained in reproductive medicine, reproductive oriental medicine. Then, also there is a test, an exam actually, that covers the integration of eastern and western medicine. That’s something that if you do have a provider that’s certified, they’re going to be speaking your language. In other words, they’re going to know what PCOS is for sure, and they’ll be able to help you. That’s a good resource to go to.

Amy Medling:                    Yeah, that’s a great tip. Thank you for all of this information that you share with us, especially your story. Again, it was really inspirational. Thank you for the work that you’re doing.

Dr. Farrar Duro:                Thank you.

Amy Medling:                    I would love for you to tell us more about your practice and how people can reach out to you if they want more information about Chinese medicine and acupuncture. Let us know how we can find you.

Dr. Farrar Duro:                Sure. We are at, and when you go to the site, you can actually book a consultation as well. We have phone consultations if you’re not in the south Florida area.

We have some programs for PCOS as well, where we work with you a little more on hormonal balance and just achieving your goals with PCOS. I think that in this day and age, there’s so many resources out there and sometimes it gets confusing, actually, there’s too much information. We try to actually help simplify things a little bit and really help you on your path, whatever your goal is.

Amy Medling:                    Well, thank you so much, Dr. Farrar Duro for coming on the PCOS Diva podcast, and thank you everyone for listening today. I look forward to being with you again very soon.

Dr. Farrar Duro:                Thank you, Amy. Bye.


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Amy Medling Fall 2017

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