Health-related quality of life measurement in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review

Hum Reprod Update. 2008 Jan-Feb;14(1):15-25. doi: 10.1093/humupd/dmm030. Epub 2007 Sep 28.


The symptoms typically associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) such as acne, hirsutism, irregular menses, amenorrhoea, obesity and subfertility are a major source of psychological morbidity and can negatively affect quality of life (QoL). We systematically searched the literature to identify the impact of symptoms and treatments for PCOS on health-related QoL (HRQoL) and to report on the types and psychometric properties of the instruments used. Papers were retrieved by systematically searching four electronic databases and hand searching relevant reference lists and bibliographies. Nineteen papers used a standardized questionnaire to measure health status; of these 12 (63.2%) used generic tools and 8 (42%) used the disease-specific PCOS questionnaire. Although a meta-analysis was not possible, it appears that weight concerns have a particular negative impact upon HRQoL, although the role of body mass index in affecting HRQoL scores is inconclusive from the available evidence. Acne is the area least reported upon in terms of its impact upon HRQoL. With the exception of three studies, most of the research has focused upon adult women with PCOS. Despite the benefits of HRQoL measures in research, few are being used to evaluate the outcomes of treatment for PCOS upon the subjective health status of women with the condition.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Hirsutism / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / etiology
  • Mental Health*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / complications
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / psychology
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / therapy*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sexual Behavior