Yoga provides ‘therapeutic benefit’ to patients with PCOS
Mindful yoga, which researchers defined as yoga that includes awareness of the body’s posture and breathing, improved androgen levels and reduced depression and anxiety in women with polycystic ovary syndrome, according to the results of a small randomized controlled study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.
“Current PCOS therapies target specific symptoms of the disorder and often come with unwanted side effects,” Diana Speelman, PhD, director of research for the College of Medicine at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Pennsylvania, told Healio Primary Care. “Many women with PCOS have expressed a desire to have nonpharmacologic options to manage their symptoms.”
Speelman and colleagues randomly assigned 22 women (mean age, 31 years) who reported that their PCOS had affected their health for more than 10 years to a mindful yoga intervention group (n = 13) or a control group with no intervention. The mindful yoga classes lasted 1 hour and occurred three times weekly.
After 3 months, the intervention group had lower levels of free testosterone (4.24 pg/mL vs. 5.96 pg/mL; P = .0413), dehydroepiandrosterone (316.6 ng/mL vs. 359.7 ng/mL; P = .0574) and adiponectin (8.8 pg/mL vs. 10.6 g/mL; P = .0045) vs. the control group. Zahn said that reducing free testosterone levels may help reduce acne and hirsutism.
Speelman and colleagues also found that participants in the intervention group had lower Beck Anxiety Inventory scores (11.3 points vs. 14.4 points; P = .0365) and Beck Depression Inventory-II scores (7.25 points vs. 16 points; P < .001).
Researchers wrote that the results suggest that “mindful yoga can provide therapeutic benefit to women with PCOS.”
Speelman added that “women with more severe PCOS symptoms or who can tolerate pharmacological treatments may wish to include yoga as one part of their treatment plan. It is up to the patient and physician to come up with a plan that works best for the woman based on their needs, tolerance for the prescribed medications, and desire to rely more or less on medication to manage their symptoms.” – by Janel Miller
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.