Prevalence and implications of anxiety in polycystic ovary syndrome: results of an internet-based survey in Germany

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Comparatively little attention has been paid to the symptoms of anxiety in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), although anxiety disorders constitute the most common psychiatric diagnoses among endocrine patients and in the general population. Therefore, our goal was to address the prevalence, determinants and implications of anxiety alone or anxiety in combination with depression in German women with PCOS.

METHODS

In this nation-wide, internet-based survey, anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, HADS) and quality of life (SF-12) were assessed together with sociodemographic information and clinical PCOS symptoms in 448 PCOS women.

RESULTS

Of the patients, 34% showed clinically relevant HADS anxiety scores and 21% had clinically relevant HADS depression scores. Quality of life was significantly impaired in PCOS women with anxiety (P < 0.001), in particular, in women with comorbid anxiety and depression (P < 0.001). The risk for clinically relevant HADS anxiety scores was significantly enhanced in PCOS women with acne (odds ratio (OR)=1.52; 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.03–2.52) and an unfulfilled wish to conceive (OR=1.50; 95% CI=1.01–2.23).

CONCLUSIONS

PCOS women may be at an increased risk for clinically relevant anxiety, and comorbid anxiety and depression is also very common. Anxiety contributes to impaired quality of life in PCOS. Given the high prevalence and the serious implications, and the availability of effective treatment options given proper diagnosis, clinicians should be more aware of anxiety disorders in women with PCOS.

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