Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common disorders of reproductive endocrinology in women of reproductive age. Lifestyle intervention and oral contraceptives are the first-line treatments for PCOS. Recent studies have suggested that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies including acupuncture, herbal medicine, and mind–body therapy have the potential to alleviate the symptoms and/or pathology of PCOS and to improve the quality of life of women with PCOS. This meta-analysis aimed to quantitatively summarize the efficacy and safety of moxibustion combined with oriental herbal medicine (OHM), common CAM therapies, for treating PCOS.
Four databases were searched from their inception to June 22, 2018. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-RCTs using both OHM and moxibustion as experimental intervention, and western medication (WM) as control intervention were included. Studies involving OHM plus moxibustion combined with WM as the experimental intervention were also included. The quality of included studies was assessed using risk of bias tool.
Owing to the heterogeneity of reporting, meta-analysis was only performed for pregnancy rate, rate of normal biphasic basal body temperature (BBT), and total effective rate (TER). The results showed that compared to the WM group, the OHM combined with moxibustion group was associated with significantly higher pregnancy rate (risk ratio [RR] 1.95, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.55–2.47; I2 = 0%), normal biphasic BBT rate (RR 1.66, 95% CI 1.34–2.05; I2 = 0%), and TER (RR 1.19, 95% CI 1.08–1.31; I2 = 0%). When OHM combined with moxibustion was used as an adjunctive therapy to WM, pregnancy rate (RR 1.65, 95% CI 1.29–2.11; I2 = 0%), and TER (RR 1.35, 95% CI 1.13–1.61; I2 = 43%) were significantly higher than those of the WM group.
According to current evidence, OHM combined with moxibustion might be beneficial for treating PCOS. Moreover, the treatment might improve the therapeutic effects of conventional WMs including clomiphene citrate, oral contraceptives, and/or metformin. However, the findings should be interpreted with caution, owing to poor methodological quality of the included studies. Further larger, high-quality, rigorous RCTs should be conducted in this regard.
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