Depression, anxiety and cardiometabolic risk in polycystic ovary syndrome

Hum Reprod. 2011 Dec;26(12):3339-45. doi: 10.1093/humrep/der338. Epub 2011 Oct 7.


Background: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is associated with psychological and metabolic disturbances. The aim of this study was to determine whether depression, anxiety and reduced health-related quality of life (HRQOL) are more common in women with PCOS and associated with metabolic risk.

Methods: The study included 226 PCOS patients and 85 BMI-matched healthy control women. All participants completed standardized questionnaires assessing depression (Beck Depression Inventory), anxiety (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory) and both depression and anxiety (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and General Health Questionnaire). Patients also completed a PCOS HRQOL questionnaire. Hirsutism scores, serum androgens and lipids were obtained. All subjects underwent a standard oral glucose tolerance test.

Results: 28.6% of PCOS women versus 4.7% of control women had clinical depression scores indicating an 8.1-fold increased risk of depression in PCOS (P < 0.001). Depression and anxiety scores were higher in PCOS women than controls (P < 0.01 for all subscales). Obese PCOS subjects had higher depression scores and rates than non-obese PCOS women (P < 0.05). Depression scores were significantly correlated with insulin resistance and lipid parameters and with the number of components comprising the metabolic syndrome. Menstrual and hirsutism problems were the most serious concerns followed by emotional problems on the HRQOL.

Conclusions: Depression and anxiety are more common in patients with PCOS compared with healthy women. Depression in PCOS might be associated with obesity and metabolic abnormalities including insulin resistance and dyslipidemia.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / complications
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / complications*
  • Risk Factors