Background: We examined whether women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have poorer health-related quality of life (HRQoL) than women in the general population and than patients with other medical conditions.
Method: Women with PCOS were recruited from an outpatient clinic and a control group was recruited from a family planning clinic. Both groups completed the Short Form-36 (SF-36) and the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Questionnaire (PCOSQ). SF-36 data from the Oxford Health and Lifestyle Survey were used to compare PCOS with other conditions.
Results: Twenty-two women with PCOS and 96 control women took part. Women with PCOS scored lower in both summary scores of the SF-36 and in all domains of the PCOSQ. After adjusting for body mass index, the differences between the groups in the SF-36 disappeared, while those in the PCOSQ remained. When compared with asthma, epilepsy, diabetes, back pain, arthritis and coronary heart disease, our PCOS group had the same or better physical HRQoL but poorer psychological HRQoL. The PCOSQ showed good internal reliability, good concurrent validity and good discriminant validity.
Conclusions: PCOS has a negative impact on HRQoL even when compared with other serious health conditions. The PCOSQ is reliable and valid for clinical use.