Background: Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) suffer from anovulatory infertility and hospital-based studies suggest that they have an increased risk of spontaneous abortion. Our aim was to investigate the proportion of women, with self-reported oligo-amenorrhea and/or hirsutism in a general population, who had suffered from infertility, the percentage of them managing to conceive and their rate of spontaneous abortion.
Methods: At age 31, a postal questionnaire including questions about hirsutism and oligo-amenorrhea was sent to all women from the population-based Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 (total n = 5889). Of these, 4535 (79.5%) answered the questionnaire, 1103 reported hirsutism and/or oligo/amenorrhea (symptomatic women) and 3420 were non-symptomatic. The fecundability ratio (FR) was defined as the probability of conception of a clinically detectable pregnancy within 12 months.
Results: The overall pregnancy (77.7% versus 75.6%) and spontaneous abortion (19.3% versus 18.6%) rates did not differ between the two groups and the risk of spontaneous abortion was not associated with body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) or waist circumference. Symptomatic women had suffered more often from infertility than non-symptomatic women (19.4% versus 11.1%, P < 0.01). Oligo-amenorrhea and/or hirsutism (FR = 0.74, P < 0.001) and obesity (FR = 0.68, P = 0.002) were both independently associated with decreased fecundability, but symptomatic women had become pregnant and had one or two successful deliveries as often as non-symptomatic women.
Conclusions: Women with self-reported oligo-amenorrhea and/or hirsutism had lower fecundability and suffered more often from infertility, but had at least one delivery as often as non-symptomatic women, and did not exhibit an increased risk of spontaneous abortion.