By Sola Ogundipe
ACUPUNCTURE and excercise can now be adopted by Nigerian women as well as other women who are seeking relief for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a common condition among women.
According to a recent study at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, nearly 10 per cent of women of reproductive age have polycystic ovary syndrome and acupuncture could significantly minimise the impact.
PCOS expresses itself as a large number of small immature cysts on the ovaries that cause a disturbance in the production of hormones and an increase in the secretion of the male sex hormone. This means that many women with the condition do not ovulate normally, and the syndrome may lead to infertility.
Such women also run an increased risk of becoming obese, developing type 2 diabetes, or cardio-vascular disease.
In the view of Elisabet Stener-Victorin, who led the research at the Sahlgrenska Academy, it is not known for certain what causes PCOS despite it being so common.
In the study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, she stated that women with the syndrome often have high activity in that part of the nervous system that we cannot consciously control, known as the sympathetic nervous system. We believe that this may be an important underlying factor in the syndrome. During the study, one group of women with PCOS received acupuncture regularly for four months.
They received a type of acupuncture known as â€œelectro-acupunctureâ€, in which the needles are stimulated with a weak low-frequency electric current, similar to that developed during muscular work.
The study showed that activity in the sympathetic nervous system was lower in the women who received acupuncture and in those who took regular exercise. The acupuncture treatment brought further benefits.