1. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, physical activity improved the reproductive outcomes of women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), whether used alone or in combination with other interventions.
2. In addition, physical activity was associated with improvements in psychological factors in women with PCOS.
Evidence Rating Level: 1 (Excellent)
Issues with fertility are common and distressing for women diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Physical activity is often recommended to PCOS patients to maintain a healthy body weight and improve insulin sensitivity. However, the role of exercise in improving women’s reproductive functions has not yet been established. As a result, the objective of the present study was to review the literature and determine the effects of physical activity on reproductive function in women with PCOS.
Of 334 identified records, 7 (age range =13-45 years) studies were included from various databases from January 2010-December 2022. Studies were included if they were randomized controlled trials that investigated physical activity interventions on reproductive function in women with PCOS aged 13 to 45 years. Gray literature, unpublished manuscripts, and publications without primary data were excluded. The review was performed using PRISMA guidelines. The quality of the studies was assessed using the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organization of Care Risk of Bias Tool. The primary outcome was improvements in reproductive functions.
The results demonstrated that physical activity helped to improve various reproductive functions, including menstrual frequency, establishing hormonal balance (such as anti-mullerian hormone), and reducing hyperandrogenism. The improvement in reproductive function was observed for a maximum of 6 months. Furthermore, physical activity improved psychological factors in patients, and was associated with a reduction in anxiety and depression. Despite these results, the study was limited by the finite number of studies investigating physical activity and PCOS, which may have affected the results. Nonetheless, the present study provided a further understanding of the benefits of physical exercise in women with PCOS.
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