New research suggests electro-acupuncture can benefit women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and lower the risk of metabolic disorders that often accompany the condition.
PCOS affects up to 10 percent of women of reproductive age and results from higher levels of androgens leading to ovarian cysts, irregular menstrual cycles and, in some cases, infertility.
To test the efficacy of an alternative medicine resource, Swedish scientists divided 20 women into three groups – one receiving low-frequency electro-acupuncture, one engaging in exercise and a control group.
They found that acupuncture led to more regular menstrual cycles, reduced testosterone levels and reduced waist circumference, while exercise helped reduce weight and body mass index.
In addition, the study showed the usefulness of exercise and acupuncture in reducing sympathetic nerve activity, which is common in women with PCOS, and may lead to hyperinsulinemia, insulin resistance, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Acupuncture is based on the ancient Chinese medicine practice of inserting and manipulating very thin needles at precise points on the body to relieve pain and restore health.