Study links PCOS to mental health disorders


Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are prone to mental health disorders, a new study has revealed.

The same large-scale study also showed that the children of women with PCOS face an increased risk of developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

In the retrospective cohort design study, researchers assessed the mental health history of nearly 17,000 women with PCOS.

When compared with unaffected women matched for age and BMI, the study found that those with PCOS were more likely to be diagnosed with mental health disorders including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders.

Children born to mothers with PCOS were also found to be at greater risk of developing ADHD and autism spectrum disorders.

The findings suggest that women with PCOS should be screened for mental health disorders, to ensure early diagnosis and treatment.

PCOS, the most common hormone condition among young women, affects between 7% and 10% of women of childbearing age, and it costs an estimated ¢5.46 billion annually to provide care to women with PCOS in the US, according to a report from the Endocrine Society.

PCOS is the most common cause of infertility in young women, and the elevated male hormone levels associated with the condition lead to many other distressing symptoms such as irregular periods, excessive facial and body hair, weight gain and acne.

Study author Aled Rees said: “PCOS is one of the most common conditions affecting young women today, and the effect on mental health is still under appreciated.

“This is one of the largest studies to have examined the adverse mental health and neurodevelopmental outcomes associated with PCOS, and we hope the results will lead to increased awareness, earlier detection, and new treatments.

“Further research is needed to confirm the neurodevelopmental effects of PCOS, and to address whether all or some types of patients with PCOS are exposed to mental health risks.”

Page last updated April 2018

Imogen Robinson

Imogen was The Femedic’s original Deputy Editor. She joined The Femedic after working as a news reporter. Becoming frustrated with the neverending clickbait, she jumped at the chance to work for a site whose ethos revolves around honesty and empathy. From reading articles by doctors to researching her own, and discussing health with a huge variety of women, she is fascinated by just how little we are told about our own bodies and women-specific health issues, and is excited to be working on a site which will dispel myths and taboos, and hopefully help a lot of women.

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