Managing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome What Our Patients Are Telling Us

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Abstract

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) experience symptoms such as irregular menses, hirsutism, and acne, and are at heightened risk for developing obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes mellitus, infertility, and some cancers. Data also indicate an inverse correlation between PCOS and health-related quality-of-life indicators and self-image. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe the lived experience of women with PCOS in the management of their disorder and the meaning of that experience for them. Design: This qualitative study was conducted using a phenomenological approach based on the guidelines of Van Manen. Method: Individual, semistructured interviews were completed with 10 participants who were diagnosed with PCOS and managed by a health care practitioner(s) within the past 5 years. Data were analyzed using the process of hermeneutic phenomenological reflection. Findings: The four major themes that described women's lived experience of managing PCOS were frustration, confusion, searching, and gaining control. Conclusions: Women with PCOS face many challenges in managing their disorder and desire to gain control, balance, and well-being through a comprehensive treatment plan. The findings have implications for health care providers in addressing quality of life issues and overall health outcomes.

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