Obstetrics/GynecologyOriginal Article

Correlation Between Physiologic and Osteopathic Measures of Sympathetic Activity in Women With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Sarah E. Davis, DO; Jan Hendryx, DO; Stephanie Bouwer, OMS III; Christian Menezes, OMS IV; Heather Menezes, OMS IV; Vishesha Patel, OMS IV; and Diana L. Speelman, PhD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: June 13, 2018

Accepted: July 16, 2018

Published: January 1, 2019

J Osteopath Med; 119(1): 7-17

Background: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormone disorder that affects the reproductive, metabolic, and psychological health of reproductive-aged 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.

Objectives: 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. (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03383484)

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