Are Women With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome More Likely to Develop Psychiatric Disorder?

depressed woman on bed
depressed woman on bed
Investigators observed an increased rate of obsessive compulsive disorder and somatization in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is associated with an increased risk for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder, according to a study published in Endocrine.

In this systematic review and meta-analysis of 57 studies reporting on 172,040 patients, researchers sought to examine the prevalence of psychiatric disorder in women with PCOS. They used a random-effects model to generate pooled estimates, with primary outcomes being association of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, social phobia, somatization disorder, and panic disorder.

Of all reviewed studies, 24 demonstrated that PCOS was associated with a significant increase in clinical diagnosis of depression (odds ratio [OR], 2.79), 15 demonstrated an association between increased risk for anxiety disorder and PCOS (OR, 2.75), 5 demonstrated an association between increased risk for bipolar disorder and PCOS (OR, 1.78), and 3 demonstrated an association between increased risk for obsessive compulsive disorder and PCOS (OR, 1.37).

 However, the studies did not show that women with PCOS were more likely to develop social phobia, panic disorder, or somatization disorder.

Furthermore, various scales revealed that women with PCOS experience more severe symptoms of depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and somatization disorders than women without PCOS.

The researchers highlighted several limitations to their study. Most notably, they found significant variation in the methodology used across included studies to diagnose psychiatric disorders.

In response to their findings, the researchers concluded that they “support routine screening of women with PCOS for depression and anxiety. Widespread provider education regarding the increased risk of not only depression and anxiety but disorders less often screened such as somatization disorders, is imperative.”

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Brutocao C, Zaiem F, Alsawas M, Morrow AS, Murad MH, Javed A. Psychiatric disorders in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis [published online July 31, 2018]. Endocrine. doi: 10.1007/s12020-018-1692-3