Impact of electroacupuncture and exercise on hyperandrogenism and oligo/amenorrhoea in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized controlled trial.
Journal article, 2011

Background: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the most common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age, is characterized by hyperandrogenism, oligo/amenorrhea, and polycystic ovaries. We aimed to determine whether low-frequency electro-acupuncture (EA) decreases hyperandrogenism and improves oligo/amenorrhea more effectively than physical exercise or no intervention. Methods: We randomized 84 women with PCOS, aged 18-37 years, to 16 weeks of low-frequency EA, physical exercise, or no intervention. The primary outcome measure-changes in the concentration of total testosterone (T) at week 16 determined by gas and liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry-was analyzed by intention-to treat. Secondary outcome measures were changes in menstrual frequency; concentrations of androgens, estrogens, androgen precursors, glucuronidated androgen metabolites; and acne and hirsutism. Outcomes were assessed at baseline, after 16 weeks of intervention, and after a 16-week follow-up. Results: After 16 weeks of intervention, circulating T decreased by -25%, androsterone glucuronide by -30%, and androstane-3α, 17β-diol-3glucuronide by -28% in the EA group (P=0.038, 0.030, and 0.047, respectively vs. exercise); menstrual frequency increased to 0.69/month from 0.28 at baseline in the EA group (P=0.018 vs. exercise). After the 16-week follow-up, the acne score decreased by -32% in the EA group (P=0.006 vs. exercise). Both EA and exercise improved menstrual frequency and decreased the levels of several sex steroids at week 16 and at the 16-week follow-up, compared to no intervention. Conclusion/Significance: Low-frequency EA and physical exercise improved hyperandrogenism and menstrual frequency more effectively than no intervention in women with PCOS. Low-frequency EA was superior to physical exercise and may be useful for treating hyperandrogenism and oligo/amenorrhea.


Sex steroid precursors




Glucuronidated androgen metabolites



Elizabeth Jedel

Karolinska Institutet

Fernand Labrie

Universite Laval

Anders Odén

Chalmers, Mathematical Sciences, Mathematical Statistics

University of Gothenburg

Göran Holm

University of Gothenburg

Lars Nilsson

University of Gothenburg

Per-Olof Janson

University of Gothenburg

Anna Karin Lind

University of Gothenburg

Claes Ohlsson

University of Gothenburg

Elisabet Stener-Victorin

University of Gothenburg

American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism

0193-1849 (ISSN) 1522-1555 (eISSN)

Vol. 300 1 E37-45

Subject Categories

Endocrinology and Diabetes






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