Correlation between physiologic and osteopathic measures of sympathetic activity in women with polycystic ovary syndrome

Sarah E. Davis, Jan Hendryx, Stephanie Bouwer, Christian Menezes, Heather Menezes, Vishesha Patel, Diana L. Speelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormone disorder that affects the reproductive, metabolic, and psychological health of reproductiveaged females, with a number of long-term health risks, including type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular sequelae. Sympathetic hyperactivity in affected persons may be involved in the pathogenesis of the disorder. Objective: To determine whether physiologic and osteopathic measures of increased sympathetic tone correlate in a population of women with PCOS. Methods: For this descriptive observational study, women with PCOS between the ages of 20 and 44 years were recruited. Physiologic measures of sympathetic tone (resting heart rate and blood pressure, resting heart rate variability, and postexercise heart rate recovery and blood pressure) were compared with osteopathic measures of sympathetic tone (Chapman points and viscerosomatic reflexes) for the heart, adrenal glands, and ovaries. Results: Twenty-four women participated in the study. Overall, the participants exhibited both physiologic and osteopathic signs of increased sympathetic tone compared with reference values. In some participants, the number of osteopathic findings were greater than the number of physiologic findings of increased sympathetic tone. Conclusions: Women with PCOS exhibit increased sympathetic tone by physiologic and osteopathic measures, indicating the utility of assessing sympathetic hyperactivity in these patients by osteopathic methods. Osteopathic structural examination is a valuable diagnostic tool that may allow detection of sympathetic hyperactivity in women with PCOS even before physiologic symptoms manifest. The osteopathic indicators of increased sympathetic tone may represent potential therapeutic targets to improve health in this population. ( NCT03383484).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-17
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Osteopathic Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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