The participants were split into two group, one who received no intervention and one who started doing a one hour group yoga class, three times per week. Each group had their endocrine, cardio-metabolic, and psychological measurements taken at the beginning and end of the three month experiment, covering factors like free testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone, androstenedione, body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, fasting blood glucose and insulin levels, and anxiety and depression scores.
The results showed that the women who practiced yoga regularly had significantly lower free testosterone levels, with affects lasting for several months after the three month intervention.
High levels of androgens, like testosterone, are one of the diagnostic criteria for PCOS and are behind symptoms like excess body and facial hair, acne and irregular periods.
Yoga is already renowned for its science-backed mental health benefits and participants also noted improvements in their measures of anxiety and depression.
There is currently no cure for PCOS and management of the condition ranges from lifestyle changes to medication, depending on the symptom you're tackling. Weight loss is often advised for women with PCOS to improve symptoms, however many sufferers find it harder to do so. This study found that the benefits of yoga occurred without weight loss.