The effect of polycystic ovary syndrome on health-related quality of life

Gynecol Endocrinol. 2003 Oct;17(5):379-86. doi: 10.1080/09513590312331290268.


This article reviews current literature regarding polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and health-related quality of life (HRQoL), as well as examining how some of the manifestations of PCOS affect HRQoL. The only quantitative study was performed in adolescent girls. It used a well-validated instrument and showed that HRQol was worse in those with PCOS in the areas of general health perceptions, behavior, physical functioning and family activity. No comparable study exists for adults with PCOS. However, qualitative psychological studies have demonstrated higher levels of depression, psychological and psychosexual morbidity and an increased response to stress in women with PCOS compared with controls. Low self-esteem, decreased social activity and less romantic contentment were reported in women with PCOS. Weight and hirsutism consistently caused more concern than menstrual problems or infertility. The symptoms associated with PCOS, namely hirsutism, acne, diabetes mellitus and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) were all reported to reduce HRQoL in separate studies. Encouragingly, treatment for acne and OSAS improved the HRQoL, although treatment for hirsutism did not. Quantitative studies on the effect of PCOS on HRQoL and the benefit of treatments need to be conducted.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / psychology*
  • Quality of Life*