Exercise and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Amie Woodward, Markos Klonizakis, David Broom

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a complex endocrinopathy affecting both the metabolism and reproductive system of women of reproductive age. Prevalence ranges from 6.1–19.9% depending on the criteria used to give a diagnosis. PCOS accounts for approximately 80% of women with anovulatory infer-tility, and causes disruption at various stages of the reproductive axis. Evidence suggests lifestyle modification should be the first line of therapy for women with PCOS. Several studies have examined the impact of exercise interventions on reproductive function, with results indicating improvements in menstrual and/or ovulation frequency following exercise. Enhanced insulin sensitivity underpins the mechanisms of how exercise restores reproductive function. Women with PCOS typically have a cluster of metabolic abnormalities that are risk factors for CVD. There is irrefutable evidence that exercise mitigates CVD risk factors in women with PCOS. The mechanism by which exercise improves many CVD risk factors is again associated with improved insulin sensitivity and decreased hyperinsulinemia. In addition to cardiometabolic and reproductive complications, PCOS has been associated with an increased prevalence of mental health disorders. Exercise improves psychological well-being in women with PCOS, dependent on certain physiological factors. An optimal dose–response relationship to exercise in PCOS may not be feasible because of the highly individualised characteristics of the disorder. Guidelines for PCOS suggest at least 150 min of physical activity per week. Evidence confirms that this should form the basis of any clinician or healthcare professional prescription.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhysical Exercise for Human Health
EditorsJunjie Xiao
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-15-1792-1
ISBN (Print)978-981-15-1791-4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Exercise
  • Physical activity
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Reproductive health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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