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Discover a plant that can be an alternative to treat polycystic ovary syndrome

A study published in the journal “Science” indicates that compounds derived from a medicinal plant called Artemisia annua can bring new perspectives to the treatment of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder that affects between 8% and 13% of women of reproductive age worldwide. The compound in this plant is already well known for its anti-malaria properties.

The study was developed by scientists at Fudan University in China. According to them, the first results of using the plant to combat the symptoms of the disease are positive.

In the study, the plant-derived compound was tested in mice and human patients.

In animal tests, scientists found that artemisinins induced the degradation of CYP11A1, an enzyme crucial for testosterone production. This reduced the production of testosterone and other hormones associated with PCOS. As a result of the test, the animals had more regular menstrual cycles and were more fertile.

Then, 19 women were given dihydroartemisinin, a common malaria drug, and after 12 weeks, they saw a significant reduction in testosterone levels and other hormones related to PCOS. As a result, they began to have more regular menstrual cycles and did not experience any side effects.

“Overall, our findings highlight the promising potential of artemisinins as effective medications for the comprehensive treatment of PCOS,” the researchers assessed.

Gynecologist Luiz Brito, who also works as a professor at the Unicamp School of Medicine and is a specialist in gynecological surgery, read the study carried out by international researchers and states that it is still too early to say that artemisinin has an important role in the treatment of the disease.

“This drug apparently improves insulin resistance in these patients with polycystic ovaries, has a metabolic effect and acts by reducing androgen production, which has a beneficial effect on treatment. However, as the article itself says, it is still too early for us to say that the compound has an important role in treatment because we need studies with a larger number of patients. That way we will know if this medication will in fact consolidate itself as a new option for the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome,” he says.

What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

The cause of polycystic ovary disease is not yet well defined, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic factors, a predisposition to hormonal changes and insulin resistance, associated with environmental factors.

The main characteristic of the disease is the alteration in the menstrual cycle, where women have anovulation, that is, they do not ovulate regularly. This impacts the menstrual cycle, making them less frequent and even absent altogether.

Other very common symptoms are associated with increased male hormones, such as increased hair growth and acne.

“Not ovulating frequently can lead to infertility, which can also affect your life. In addition, many patients with polycystic ovaries, due to insulin resistance, also have associated obesity, which can further impact their quality of life,” explains Mariana Cocuzza, gynecologist and obstetrician.

Improving lifestyle, diet and physical exercise, as well as the use of contraceptives and ovulation induction, in addition to specific treatments for excess hair and acne, can improve the patient’s quality of life.

“The most common treatments usually involve blocking the ovaries, if the patient is not trying to get pregnant, which helps to improve symptoms related to the increase in male hormones. For milder symptoms, changes in diet and physical exercise can also help. If the patient wants to get pregnant, the treatment will focus on stimulating ovulation. This treatment is successful in up to 70% of patients with polycystic ovaries,” adds the gynecologist.

Source: CNN Brasil

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