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Meditation may improve lives of adolescents with PCOS

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Source: University of Adelaide

Image: Meditation may improve lives of adolescents with PCOS.

Image: Meditation may improve lives of adolescents with PCOS.

Mantra-based mediation, previously proven to reduce stress, may help adolescent girls cope with the symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). A trial currently being carried out by the University of Adelaide seeks to improve the quality of life for girls with this condition.

“Polycystic Ovary Syndrome affects 6 ­ 18 per cent of adolescent girls but may not be diagnosed,” says Dr Alexia Peña, Senior Lecturer from The University of Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute and Paediatric Endocrinologist at the Women's and Children's Hospital.

“Women with PCOS are more likely to have reduced quality of life and anxiety and/or depression symptoms than women without PCOS.

“Adolescent girls with PCOS have irregular menstrual cycles, excess hair and acne, which can cause impaired quality of life and psychological distress.”

Recent studies have demonstrated that self-management strategies such as mindfulness improve quality of life in adult women with PCOS, but there are no studies in adolescent girls or young women.

Forty young women aged between 12 and 20 years old, who have PCOS, are being invited to take part in a trial to assess the effect that practising Transcendental Meditation (TM) has on coping with their symptoms and the effect on their quality of life. The secondary aim of the study is to evaluate the effects of TM on participants’ cortisol levels – the major stress hormone in the body – and their blood pressure.

“Transcendental Meditation has been shown to have beneficial effects on stress levels and blood pressure in adults. TM has also shown beneficial effects on school behaviour and blood pressure in children and adolescents,” says Dr Peña.

“We will ask participants, or their parents, about their health-related quality of life, how they cope with daily activities and school, their feelings, and how they get along with friends and others.”

TM is practised sitting comfortably with eyes closed twice a day. It originated in India and has spread worldwide since the 1950s. This type of sitting meditation is a well-established and an easy technique that is taught by specialised and certified teachers who ensure this meditation is learnt and practiced appropriately.

Participants will be randomly selected to be either in the meditation group or in the control group. Participants in the meditation group will be taught TM and will practice meditation twice a day while those in the control group will have a healthy lifestyle education and will be asked to sit quietly twice a day, over the eight-week study.

“This study will assess whether meditation helps young people cope with the symptoms of PCOS and if proven will equip participants with an effective way of improving their quality of life. Once mediation is learnt it can be practiced for life,” says Dr Peña.

Young women or their parents who are interested in further information or want to participate in this study are welcome to contact Dr Alexia Peña.

Media Contacts:

Dr Alexia Peña, Senior Lecturer from The University of Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute and Paediatric Endocrinologist at the Women's and Children's Hospital. Phone +61 (0)405 373 297, Email: alexia.pena@adelaide.edu.au

Crispin Savage, Media and Communications Officer, The University of Adelaide. Mobile: +61 (0)481 912 465, Email: crispin.savage@adelaide.edu.au