Background: Anxiety and depression are more prevalent in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) than in those without this disorder. Possible confounding effects of overweight and obesity are suggested. The aim was to compare symptoms of anxiety and depression in women with PCOS and controls matched for age, body weight and body mass index (BMI).
Methods: Women with PCOS (n = 30) and controls (n = 30) were recruited from the community. Persons with ongoing psychotropic medication were excluded. All potential participants underwent gynecological examination to confirm case-control status. Participants completed the self-reported versions of the Brief Scale for Anxiety (BSA-S) and Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS-S).
Results: Women with PCOS had a higher BSA-S score compared with controls (median, range: 10.5, 1-24 versus 5.0, 0-28, P < 0.001). They scored higher on the following four individual symptoms: reduced sleep (2.0, 0-5 versus 0, 0-2, P < 0.001), worry (1.5, 0-4 versus 0, 0-6, P = 0.004), phobias (1, 0-4 versus 0, 0-3, P < 0.001), and pain (1, 0-3 versus 0, 0-2, P < 0.001). No statistical difference was demonstrated regarding MADRS-S scores (10.0, 0-27 versus 5.5, 0-24, P = 0.053). Only one of the nine MADRS-S symptoms, reduced sleep, which is also included in the BSA-S, differed between cases and controls.
Conclusions: Several anxiety symptoms distinguished women with PCOS from a control group matched on BMI. A better understanding of the symptoms is needed to identify and alleviate anxiety symptoms in this vulnerable group.