Polycystic ovary syndrome has very worrying effects on women’s mental health

Polycystic ovary syndrome has very worrying effects on women's mental health

Until now, we knew the effects of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) on women’s quality of life. A new study reveals that it also weakens their mental health, to the point of increasing dark thoughts.

Linked to a hormonal imbalance of ovarian and/or central origin in the brain, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) leads to excessive production of androgens, particularly testosterone in the female body. The result is a cascade of reactions that weaken women’s quality of life, such as risks of infertility, irregular menstrual cycles but also excessive hair growth (hirsutism), as well as metabolic complications (diabetes and excess weight). But a new study reveals that PCOS may also be a significant risk factor for depression.

8 times more likely to attempt suicide

According to a Taiwanese study published on February 6, people with PCOS present an increased risk of suicide attempts.

Experts analyzed national databases of 18,960 PCOS patients, aged 12 to 64, to compare their medical journeys, between 1997 to 2012, to those of other women not affected by this syndrome. According to their observations, PCOS patients are 8.47 times more likely to attempt suicide than non-diseased women with a similar lifestyle.

In detail, the researchers also noted that the risk of suicide attempts was:

  • 5.38 times higher for adolescent girls;
  • 9.15 times more important for adults under 40;
  • And 3.75 times higher for seniors, compared to women not affected by the disease.

Conditions linked to illness are difficult to live with

The authors of the study explain these peaks in risks due to the consequences of PCOS, which can be particularly difficult for patients. Infertility and negative effects on physical appearance could be, understandably, aggravating factors for women’s mental health. This would also explain the reduced risk of suicide attempts among seniors: it is during this period that the symptoms of PCOS tend to be reduced.

Psychological monitoring to be strengthened

Faced with their discovery, the researchers insist on “the importance of regular monitoring of mental health and suicide risk”affected women. And this is nothing new: in 2020, another study, this time Finnish, reached the same conclusion. Carried out on more than 5,000 affected women, this previous analysis targeted the unsatisfactory quality of life of patients associated with mental suffering. And advocated better psychological monitoring of women.

A priority when we know that PCOS affects between 8 to 13% of women today.