Exercise and electro-acupuncture treatments can reduce sympathetic nerve activity and lower testosterone levels in women with PCOS, according to a new study. The researchers explained that elevated sympathetic nerve activity plays a role in insulin resistance, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
The study, appearing in the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, also found that the acupuncture treatments led to more regular menstrual cycles and reduced waist circumference.
The acupuncture treatment involved 14 treatments over 16-weeks. Acupuncture points were located in abdominal muscles and back of the knee, points thought to be associated with the ovaries. Some of the study participants also undertook exercise programs.
Following treatment, the study found the following:
- The acupuncture and exercise groups significantly decreased muscle sympathetic nerve activity.
- The acupuncture group experienced a drop in waist size, but not a drop in body mass index or weight.
- The acupuncture group experienced fewer menstrual irregularities.
- In the acupuncture group, there was a significant drop in testosterone.
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Source: The American Physiological Society