According to a recent study, patients diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are at an eightfold increased risk for suicide attempts.
PCOS is a common endocrine disorder that affects approximately 10% of women of reproductive age. The condition leads to the production of abnormal amounts of androgens, male sex hormones that are typically present in low levels in women.
PCOS is associated with infertility, acne, dysmenorrhea, hirsutism, and obesity, which collectively impact the general quality of life. It is also linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and metabolic disorders such as diabetes, hypertension, and stroke. Furthermore, studies indicate that patients diagnosed with PCOS have a higher risk of psychiatric disorders such as depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and schizoaffective disorders.
In the latest study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers analyzed more than 18,000 women with this condition and compared them to a control group. They then found that „individuals diagnosed with PCOS are more susceptible to suicide attempts and self-injury compared to those without this condition.“
The data used for the study came from a nationwide Taiwanese database from 1997 to 2012. The study participants were between the ages of 12 and 64.
Compared to individuals in the control group, the risk of suicide attempts in PCOS patients was 8.47-fold higher, even when factors such as demographics, psychiatric comorbidity, physical condition, and clinical visits for all reasons were taken into account, researchers said.
The researchers also found that in a subgroup of youth, the risk of suicide attempts was increased by 5.38-fold.
These results underscore the importance of routine monitoring of mental health and suicide risk in individuals diagnosed with PCOS.
„If we can identify such conditions earlier in our clinical practice, we can reduce the consequent risk and dire consequences,“ said Mu-Hong Chen, co-author of the study.
„Challenges related to fertility and the treatment of PCOS symptoms could further exacerbate existing mental health issues. Women with PCOS face stigmatization due to obesity, hirsutism, menstrual disturbances, and infertility. The stigma associated with PCOS also appears to be rooted in societal expectations, contributing to the burden of this condition,“ the researchers explained.