Health-Related Quality of Life in Adolescents and Young Adults with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Systematic Review

J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2016 Dec;29(6):551-557. doi: 10.1016/j.jpag.2016.05.006. Epub 2016 Jun 1.


Study objective: To review recent data exploring the relationship between polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in adolescents and its implication for management of adolescents with this syndrome.

Design and setting: We performed a systematic literature search in MedLine, Embase and PsychInfo from 1980 to September 2015 and manual search in reference lists of selected articles. Inclusion criteria were articles in English or French with a focus on HRQoL in patients with PCOS aged between 13 and 24 years. Qualitative, cross-sectional, or interventional studies were considered as eligible. Two reviewers each independently selected and reviewed the relevant articles.

Results: Of a total of 93 publications, 7 were selected through a systematic search, and 2 were added after a manual search. Seven studies used quantitative methods and 2 studies used a qualitative one. A meta-analysis was not possible because of the methodological diversity among the selected articles. All articles showed that PCOS has a negative influence on HRQoL in adolescents. Body weight issues and body mass index (BMI) appeared to have the strongest effect on HRQoL; some studies reported a normalization of HRQoL scores after adjustment for BMI. Patient information and patient-provider relationship were also reported to affect HRQoL. Elements in favor of the effectiveness of multidisciplinary management, associated lifestyle modifications, and psychological support, in improving HRQoL were identified.

Conclusion: PCOS significantly reduces HRQoL in adolescent girls. The extent to which body weight issues and BMI mediate this effect deserves further evaluation. A detailed understanding of the psychosocial challenges that patients with PCOS face is limited, mainly because of the small number of studies available, restricted sample size, and the methodological diversity of the questionnaires used. The effect of early lifestyle modification, and medical and psychological treatment should continue to be explored.

Keywords: Adolescent; Health-related quality of life; Polycystic ovary syndrome; Young women.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / psychology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult