Yoga and PCOS
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder. Women with PCOS usually have ovaries that are large and that contain lots of small cysts along the outer edges – thus the name.
Photo credit: Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago
The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but excess insulin, low grade inflammation, genetics, and exposure to male hormones while in the womb are hypothesized to play a role.
At the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana University in India, some researchers looked at precursors to those complications – insulin levels, blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, BMI, and waist circumference.
In a prospective, randomized, controlled trial of 90 adolescent girls with PCOS, a Yoga program that included surya namaskar, asanas, pranayama, and meditation for one hour every day for 12 weeks was compared against a control regimen of conventional physical exercises.
While BMI and waist circumference between the two groups wasn’t significantly different at the end of the study, the Yoga group had significant improvements in fasting insulin, fasting blood glucose, and a homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance compared to the control group. Except for the comparison of high density lipoprotein (HDL) levels, the Yoga group also had a significantly greater change in blood lipid values.
“Yoga was found to be more effective than conventional physical exercises in improving glucose, lipid, and insulin values, including insulin resistance values, in adolescent girls with PCOS independent of anthropometric changes.”