Women with polycystic ovary syndrome are often depressed or anxious--a case control study

Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2008 Sep;33(8):1132-8. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2008.06.003. Epub 2008 Jul 30.


Objective: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hyperandrogenic endocrine disorder affecting women of fertile age. The aim of this study was to survey whether the rate of clinical psychiatric disorders in PCOS differs from the normal population.

Method: Women with PCOS (n=49) meeting the Rotterdam criteria for PCOS, and 49 age-matched controls identified from the population registry, were recruited. Trained clinicians used the MINI International Neuropsychiatric Interview to establish lifetime occurrence of Axis I DSM diagnoses. Serum-testosterone and sex hormone binding globulin were analyzed.

Results: Women with PCOS had higher lifetime incidence of depressive episodes, social phobia, and eating disorders than controls. Suicide attempts were seven times more common in the PCOS group than in the controls. Current as well as lifetime use of antidepressants and anxiolytic drugs were more common in the PCOS group.

Conclusions: Previous studies have found that PCOS is associated with decreased quality of life and self-rated mental symptoms. This study demonstrates that PCOS is also linked to psychiatric syndromes as verified by structured clinical assessments. The clinical implication of this study is that clinicians treating women with PCOS should be aware that these women are a high risk group for common affective and anxiety disorders as well as suicide attempts.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Middle Aged
  • Phobic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult