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In the new study, just published in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, a group of women with PCOS were given acupuncture where the needles were stimulated both manually and with a weak electric current. A second group of study participants was told to exercise at least three times a week, while a third group acted as controls. All the women were given information on the importance of regular exercise and a healthy diet.
"The study shows that both acupuncture and exercise reduce high levels of testosterone and lead to more regular menstruation," researcher Elisabet Stener-Victorin, who headed the study, said in a statement to the media. "Of the two treatments, the acupuncture proved more effective."
Although PCOS impacts one woman in ten, the cause isn't known. "However, we've recently demonstrated that women with PCOS have a highly active sympathetic nervous system, the part that isn't controlled by our will, and that both acupuncture and regular exercise reduced levels of activity in this system compared with the control group, which could be an explanation for the results," Stener-Victorin added.