Context: Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is associated with cardiovascular risk factors (CRF). Lifestyle intervention is regarded as therapy of choice even if studies in adolescent girls with PCOS are scarce.
Objective: Our objective was to analyze the impact of lifestyle intervention on menses irregularities, hyperandrogenemia, CRF, and intima-media thickness (IMT) in adolescent girls with PCOS.
Patients: Patients included 59 obese girls with PCOS aged 12-18 yr.
Intervention: Intervention was a 1-yr lifestyle intervention based on nutrition education, exercise training, and behavior therapy.
Main outcome measures: Menses cycles, IMT, waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting lipids, insulin, glucose, testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, androstenedione, and SHBG were evaluated.
Results: In contrast to the 33 girls without weight loss, the 26 girls reducing their body mass index during the lifestyle intervention (by a mean of -3.9 kg/m(2)) improved most CRF and decreased their IMT (by a mean of -0.01 cm). Testosterone concentrations decreased (by a mean of -0.3 nmol/liter) and SHBG concentrations increased (by a mean of +8 ng/ml) significantly in girls with weight loss in contrast to girls with increasing weight. The prevalence of amenorrhea (-42%) and oligoamenorrhea (-19%) decreased in the girls with weight loss. The changes in insulin in the 1-yr follow-up were significantly correlated to changes in testosterone (r = 0.38; P = 0.002) and SHBG (r = -0.35; P = 0.048). A linear regression model with changes in IMT as dependent variable demonstrated a significant association with changes in blood pressure and weight status but not with changes in testosterone.
Conclusions: Weight loss due to lifestyle intervention is effective to treat menses irregularities, normalize androgens, and improve CRF and IMT in obese adolescent girls with PCOS.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00435734.