The effects of exercise and nutritional counseling in women with Polycystric Ovary Syndrome
Lindstrom, Brenda Gail
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Purpose: To study the effects of a supervised exercise program combined with nutritional counseling on the hormonal aberrations associated with menstrual and reproductive function in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Methods: Twelve females with a clinical, biochemical and ultrasonographic diagnosis of PCOS (age= 30.7 ± 1.3, weight= 98.1 kg ± 4.6, height= 1.6 m ± 0.02, BMI = 36.6 kg/m2 ± 1.7, waist circumference= 98.7 cm ± 3.4) were randomly assigned to receive either exercise (EN; cardiovascular and resistance training 3 x/wk) plus nutritional counseling (1 x/wk; n = 7) or nutritional counseling only (N; 1 x/wk; n = 5) for a period of 12 weeks. Measurements of anthropometry, resting metabolic rate (RMR), selected hormones and ovarian follicle population were taken pre and post-intervention. Results: Repeated measures ANOVA revealed a greater decrease in sum of 5 skinfolds (p = 0.05) and a greater increase in estimated VO2max (p = 0.02) in the EN group compared to the N group. There was a significant decrease in waist circumference (p = 0.001), waist:hip ratio (p = 0.002), and insulin levels (p = 0.03) in both the EN and N groups following the intervention, although there was no group x time interaction. There were no statistically significant changes in androgen or lipid levels or ovarian follicle population. Following the intervention, however, one subject in the EN group became pregnant. Conclusion: Although there were no statistically significant changes in the hormone levels, apart from the insulin, there was a trend towards an improved hormonal profile which occurred in the absence of weight loss. These findings suggest that exercise and nutritional counseling, in the absence of a significant weight loss, may be beneficial in reversing the metabolic and reproductive abnormalities of PCOS.