Acupuncture and exercise to the rescue


Acupuncture is getting a lot of attention these days and now a study shows that it can be good for helping to regulate PCOS. Nearly 10% of women of reproductive age have polycystic ovary syndrome, a little understood but common disorder among reproductive aged women.

PCOS is characterized by a large number of small immature cysts on the ovaries that wreak havoc on the production of hormones causing an increase in the secretion of testosterone. Women with PCOS do not ovulate normally, and the syndrome often leads to infertility. Other side effects may include obesity, type 2 diabetes, and/or developing cardio-vascular disease. “Women with the syndrome often have high activity in that part of the nervous system we cannot consciously control, known as the “sympathetic nervous system”. We believe this may be an important factor in the syndrome,” said Elisabet Stener-Victorin, who led the research.

During the study, conducted at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, one group of women received “electro-acupuncture” regularly for four months. This specialized type of acupuncture utilizes low current, electrically charged needles. A second group of women were instructed to exercise while using heart rate monitors. Finally, a control group was educated about the importance of regular exercise and a healthy diet and allowed to make up their own plan, if any.

As Stener-Victorin predicted, the study showed that activity in the sympathetic nervous system was lower in the acupuncture and exercise group than in the control group. The acupuncture treatment brought additional benefits.

“Those who received acupuncture found that their menstruation became more normal. We could also see that their levels of testosterone became significantly lower, and this is an important observation, since elevated testosterone levels are closely connected with the increased activity in the sympathetic nervous system of women,” said Stener-Victorin.

Source: University of Gothenburg, Medical News Today


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