OBJECTIVES: There is widespread public concern that electromagnetic fields might be hazardous. However, studies on the biological effects of magnetic fields (MFs) have not always been consistent. Influence of extremely-low frequency MFs used in physiotherapy on endocrine system was rarely examined. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the concentrations of some pituitary (FSH, LH, prolactin) and sex (testosterone, estradiol) hormones in men with back pain exposed to magnetic fields applied during magnetotherapy or magnetostimulation over the period of three weeks.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The study was performed on 20 men aged 28-62 years (mean+/-SEM: 46.4+/-2.0 years) suffering from chronic low back pain who underwent magnetotherapy (10 patients, mean age+/-SEM: 48.4 years, range: 28-62 years) or subjected to magnetostimulation (10 patients, mean age+/-SEM: 44.3 years, range: 34-52 years) for 15 days (daily at 10:00 h, with weekend breaks). Blood samples were collected at 08:00 before magnetic field application, one day and one month following the application. Concentrations of hormones were measured by micromethod of chemiluminescence.
RESULTS: Both magnetotherapy and magnetostimulation lowered levels of prolactin. The levels of LH decreased significantly one month after magnetotherapy in comparison with the baseline whereas following magnetostimulation slight but insignificant increase was observed. Estradiol concentrations were significantly lower one day and one month following magnetosimulation in comparison to the baseline and did not change after magnetotherapy. No statistically significant changes were observed in levels of FSH and testosterone after either magnetotherapy or magnetosimulation at any time examined.
CONCLUSION: Magnetic fields applied in physiotherapy exert no or very subtle effect on concentrations of FSH, LH, prolactin, testosterone, and estradiol in men.