Open Access Research article

Acupuncture and physical exercise for affective symptoms and health-related quality of life in polycystic ovary syndrome: secondary analysis from a randomized controlled trial

Elisabet Stener-Victorin12*, Göran Holm3, Per Olof Janson4, Deborah Gustafson56 and Margda Waern5

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, First Affiliated Hospital, Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine, Harbin, China

3 Institute of Medicine, Department of Metabolism and Cardiovascular Research, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

4 Institute of Clinical Science, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

5 Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

6 State University of New York – Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY, USA

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13:131  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-131

Published: 13 June 2013

Abstract

Background

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have symptoms of depression and anxiety and impaired health related quality of life (HRQoL). Here we test the post-hoc hypothesis that acupuncture and exercise improve depression and anxiety symptoms and HRQoL in PCOS women.

Methods

Seventy-two PCOS women were randomly assigned to 16 weeks of 1) acupuncture (n = 28); 2) exercise (n = 29); or 3) no intervention (control) (n = 15). Outcome measures included: change in Montgomery Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS-S), Brief Scale for Anxiety (BSA-S), Swedish Short-Form 36 (SF-36), and PCOS Questionnaire (PCOSQ) scores from baseline to after 16-week intervention, and to 16-week post-intervention follow-up.

Results

A reduction in MADRS-S and BSA-S from baseline to 16-weeks post-intervention follow-up was observed for the acupuncture group. The SF-36 domains role physical, energy/vitality, general health perception and the mental component of summary scores improved in the acupuncture group after intervention and at follow-up. Within the exercise group the role physical decreased after treatment, while physical functioning and general health perception scores increased at follow-up. The emotion domain in the PCOSQ improved after 16-weeks of intervention within all three groups, and at follow-up in acupuncture and exercise groups. At follow-up, improvement in the infertility domain was observed within the exercise group.

Conclusion

There was a modest improvement in depression and anxiety scores in women treated with acupuncture, and improved HRQoL scores were noted in both intervention groups. While not a primary focus of the trial, these data suggest continued investigation of mental health outcomes in women treated for PCOS.

Trial registration number

ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00484705

Keywords:
Acupuncture; Anxiety; Depression; Exercise; Health-related quality of life; Polycystic ovary syndrome