Swollen lymph nodes, also called lymph glands, can indicate the ability of your body to fight off viruses, bacteria and other causes of illnesses.

Treat Swollen and Sore Lymph Nodes from CFS with TCM

It’s Saturday morning, and all you want to do is sleep. You’ve already canceled your plans to head out to Southern Village Farmers Market. Your swollen lymph nodes aren’t getting better, despite all the effort you’ve put into overcoming chronic fatigue. As you lie back down, your smartphone starts buzzing with incoming text messages. One friend tells you to feel better, while another suggests trying TCM. A quick Internet search reveals that TCM stands for traditional Chinese medicine, but you still frown. How could TCM relieve your swollen and sore lymph nodes?

What Is CFS?

Since you’ve been struggling with chronic fatigue syndrome for over six months, you’re already somewhat familiar with CFS – a disease that affects three out of every 1,000 Americans. You happen to be one of the unlucky ones. No medical professional or amount of online research can explain why you were diagnosed with CFS.

Possible reasons for getting diagnosed with chronic fatigue include:

  • Infections
  • Nutritional deficiency
  • Immunity dysfunction
  • Stress on the HPA axis (where the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands interact)
  • Abnormally low blood pressure

Before diagnosing you with CFS, your primary care physician conducted various tests to rule out other conditions, including sleep disorders and medical problems such as diabetes, anemia and hypothyroidism.

Individuals with CFS often have four or more of the following symptoms:

  • Short-term memory or concentration problems
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Exhaustion
  • Poor-quality sleep
  • Brain fog
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Balance problems and dizziness
  • Tender and swollen lymph nodes, usually in the armpits or neck

Dealing with a combination of these symptoms has made it impossible to go back to your normal active life.

Swollen Lymph Nodes

Think of lymph nodes as your health’s bodyguards. Lymph nodes are clusters of cells (lymphocytes and macrophages) that capture viruses, germs and foreign substances. These are broken down before they can do harm and are eliminated from your body.

Each group of lymph nodes is designed to drain a particular body area. Since CFS is poorly understood, its relation to lymphadenopathy – the medical term for swollen lymph nodes – is also unclear. However, some research has linked immune system problems to CFS, which could explain swollen and sore lymph nodes in some individuals diagnosed with chronic fatigue.

Don’t forget that swollen lymph nodes can indicate an infection or another medical problem. Even if you’ve already been diagnosed with CFS, it’s still important to consult a physician to rule out other possible conditions – especially if your immune system might not be functioning at its best. Your physician may order other tests, such as:

  • Blood tests, including liver function tests, kidney function tests and complete blood count
  • A lymph node biopsy
  • A chest X-ray
  • A liver-spleen scan

Using Traditional Chinese Medicine

Grounded in the ancient philosophy of Taoism, TCM dates back to over 2,000 years ago. TCM is said to treat illness while optimizing health and enhancing the body’s capacity for healing.

Top-notch integrative medicine clinics offering TCM can develop treatment plans that include various practices such as:

  • Acupuncture, which involves inserting fine needles into specific body locations to correct energy imbalances, promote blood flow and release tension
  • Herbal formulas that combine medicinal plants with immunomodulating, antiviral and antibacterial properties
  • Qigong, which integrates posture, breathing, focused intention and movement to boost physical and mental health
  • Acupressure, which uses pressure instead of needles on acupuncture points
  • Cupping, in which cups filled with heated air are positioned on painful body areas
  • Yoga, meditation and other relaxation techniques

Acupuncture for Swollen Lymph Nodes

According to the British Acupuncture Council, acupuncture can help over 60 conditions, including chronic fatigue. While the mechanism of acupuncture remains unclear, the stimulation of nerve fibers that send signals to the brain and spinal cord could trigger the release of hormones that block pain. This could help correct the energy pathways that flow throughout the human body.

Since acupuncture is often used to alleviate CFS, you may wish to try treating your chronic fatigue symptoms (including your swollen lymph nodes) with TCM.

Acupuncture Balanced Health

Acupuncture Balanced Health is dedicated to reducing all of your CFS symptoms and improving your quality of life by integrating Western and Eastern medicine into an individualized treatment plan. Our team of experts includes traditional Chinese medicine physicians and a board-certified physician with in-depth knowledge of integrative medicine and acupuncture research. You shouldn’t have to keep on canceling plans or calling in sick to work, so contact us today and request a free introductory acupuncture treatment.




Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs (pockets) that can grow inside or on the surface of your ovaries. Ovarian cyst surgery may be an option for reducing the symptoms.

How Acupuncture Affects Patients with PCOS

Your five-year plan is almost right on track. You just got promoted at work, you’ve bought a house in Wexford and you’ve married the love of your life. The only thing missing is starting a family. And no matter how hard you try, your monthly pregnancy tests continue to be negative. Are ovarian cysts the cause of your fertility issues? Should you undergo ovarian cyst surgery? Have you been diagnosed with PCOS? If so, what should you do about it?

What Are Ovarian Cysts?

Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop in your ovaries. Ovaries produce eggs, as well as estrogen and progesterone. Since ovaries are a major part of the female reproductive system, cysts can sometimes interfere with a woman’s fertility.

Ovarian cysts are easily identified during an ultrasound exam, but removing them is not always necessary.

Your gynecologist may advise undergoing ovarian cyst surgery if a cyst:

  • Is suspected to be cancerous
  • Measures more than 2.5 inches in diameter
  • Is solid rather than complex or partially filled with fluid
  • Causes pain

There are alternatives to ovarian cyst surgery. Other treatment for ovarian cysts involves taking birth control pills to decrease the chances of new cysts forming during future menstrual cycles.

If an ovarian cyst doesn’t have any alarming symptoms, your physician may recommend follow-up pelvic ultrasounds at regular intervals to closely monitor your ovaries. Sometimes an ovarian cyst can disappear on its own.

What About PCOS?

Only two types of cysts can interfere with fertility. These include endometriomas – cysts caused by an abnormal growth of tissue lining your uterus – and cysts caused by Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), also called polycystic ovary disease. PCOS is an endocrine system disorder characterized by the growth of small, benign cysts in a woman’s ovaries.

PCOS is associated with irregular ovulation, which can lead to fertility problems in some women. To diagnose you with PCOS, your physician will look for the following three main signs:

  • The presence of polycystic ovaries
  • A history of irregular or absent menstrual periods
  • An excess of androgen, which causes the development of some male sex characteristics such as hirsutism, a deepened voice and male pattern baldness

Other typical PCOS symptoms include:

  • Acne
  • Weight gain or obesity
  • Infertility
  • Insulin resistance
  • Decreased breast size

Symptoms of PCOS can occur at puberty, but most women are diagnosed with PCOS in their 20s or 30s, sometimes after gaining a significant amount of weight.

Causes of PCOS are often initially due to the overproduction of luteinizing hormone, released by the pituitary gland. This causes an abundance of the male hormone androgen and a severe deficiency of follicle stimulating hormone, which stops the ovaries from releasing an egg. This egg slowly develops into a cyst.

Since studies have linked PCOS with increased risks of heart disease, as well as hypertension, Type 2 diabetes and endometrial cancer, it’s important to seek proper PCOS treatment once you get diagnosed.

What PCOS Treatment Should You Seek?

There are many treatments available if you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS. Based on your medical history, conventional PCOS treatment might include taking drugs such as:

  • Oral contraceptives and progesterone to regulate your menstrual cycle
  • Glucophage to treat insulin resistance
  • Androgen blockers, such as spironolactone

If you’re trying to get pregnant, your physician may prescribe a medication that triggers ovulation, such as clomiphene.

You may also wish to change your eating habits, such as following an anti-inflammatory diet, avoiding the ingestion of raised cattle and dairy products (which may contain hormones) and consuming foods that contain isoflavones, such as soy products. Isoflavones have been shown to possibly contribute to the regulation of hormone imbalances.

If you’re looking for alternative PCOS treatment, you may wish to:

  • Try traditional Chinese medicine by visiting an integrative medicine clinic and adding herbs to your diet under the guidance of an experienced professional
  • Maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly
  • Undergo acupuncture sessions, which could help regularize your menstrual cycle or reduce the impact of PCOS. The efficacy and safety of acupuncture have been established by hundreds of randomized controlled trials.

Acupuncture as a PCOS Treatment

A fact sheet assembled by the British Acupuncture Council states that acupuncture may help symptoms of PCOS by specifically:

  • Impacting beta-endorphin production, which may affect gonadotropin-releasing hormone secretion
  • Regulating follicle stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone and androgen levels
  • Modulating the activity of the sympathetic nervous system and improving blood flow to the ovaries
  • Regulating steroid hormone/peptide receptors
  • Reducing and controlling the expressions of serum levels of testosterone and estradiol
  • Controlling hyperglycemia by increasing insulin sensitivity and decreasing blood glucose and insulin levels
  • Acting on brain areas known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress
  • Increasing the release of adenosine, which has antinociceptive properties
  • Reducing inflammation by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors

Acupuncture Balanced Health

Acupuncture Balanced Health offers individualized treatment plans for many types of health issues, including fertility problems and PCOS. Our practicing physicians have decades of experience treating chronic medical conditions with an expertise that combines traditional Chinese medicine with a conventional Western approach. The use of acupuncture, especially, has been linked to achieving higher fertility rates. If you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS, don’t wait any longer and contact us to make an appointment.