Patients diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) face an eight-fold increased risk of suicide attempts, researchers of a recent study found.
PCOS is a common endocrine disorder that affects around 10% of women in their reproductive years. The condition results in the production of abnormal amounts of androgens, which are male sex hormones that are typically present in women in small amounts.
PCOS is associated with infertility, acne, dysmenorrhea, hirsutism, and obesity, collectively reducing the overall quality of life. It is also linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disorders, and metabolic disorders such as diabetes, hypertension, and stroke. In addition, studies indicate that patients diagnosed with PCOS have a higher risk for psychiatric conditions, such as depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and schizoaffective disorder.
In the latest study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the researchers analyzed more than 18,000 women with the condition and compared it with a control group. They then found that “persons diagnosed with PCOS face a heightened susceptibility to suicide attempts and self-harm compared with those without the condition.”
The data used for the study was from a Taiwanese nationwide database from 1997 to 2012. The participants of the study were between the ages of 12 and 64 years.
Compared to people in the control group, PCOS patients faced an 8.47-fold increase in risk for suicide attempt even after accounting for factors such as demographics, psychiatric comorbid conditions, physical conditions, and all-cause clinical visits, researchers said.
The researchers also noted that an adolescent subgroup had a 5.38-fold increase in risk for suicide attempts.
These findings highlight the importance of routine monitoring of mental health and suicide risk in persons diagnosed with PCOS.
“If we can know such conditions earlier in our clinical practice, we may reduce the subsequence risk and bad consequences,” said Mu-Hong Chen, a co-author of the study.
“Challenges associated with fertility and the management of PCOS symptoms could further compound existing mental health challenges. Women with PCOS face stigmas due to obesity, hirsutism, menstrual irregularities, and infertility. The stigma linked to PCOS seems to be rooted in societal expectations, further adding to the burden of this condition,” the researchers explained.