- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
affects one in 10 women and is the main cause of infertility among them.
- The level of dissatisfaction among
women suffering from PCOS is higher due to longer waiting time for
consultation and diagnosis.
- The high prevalence of PCOS warrants
the need for
higher level of awareness among women
and healthcare professionals.
- This awareness should be used to ensure speedy diagnosis and better health outcomes for women with PCOS.
Women who suffer from polycystic
ovarian syndrome or PCOS
are dissatisfied with the amount of time they have
to wait and the number of health professionals they have to consult before
being diagnosed with the condition.
states that two among three women are affected by this waiting-time.
‘Diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) needs to be improved, and the diverse set of metabolic, reproductive and psychological features need to be understood and addressed.’
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
is a chronic health condition
that affects one in 10 women in their child-bearing age.
It occurs due to the imbalance of the reproductive hormones. This
hormonal imbalance impacts the ovaries. Ovaries produce and release eggs as
part of the monthly menstrual cycle. But in PCOS, the eggs are either not
produced or released during ovulation.
It is characterized by metabolic and reproductive problems.
Women suffering from PCOS are at an
increased risk of developing metabolic disorders like diabetes
obesity. Around 40% of the women suffering from diabetes between the ages 20-50
years have PCOS.
causes reproductive issues like infertility
is responsible for 70% of infertility-related problems.
Psychological problems like depression and anxiety are also
triggered by PCOS.
Around 9% to 18% of the women in their child-bearing age suffer
from PCOS, according to the currently accepted Rotterdam diagnosis,
international prevalence studies and guidelines.
Less than 50% of the women are diagnosed with PCOS leaving the
"Given the prevalence of PCOS, it is
important for women and healthcare professionals to be more aware of the
condition," said one of the study's authors, Helena Teede, FRACP, PhD, of
Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. "Despite the misleading name,
PCOS is not primarily an ovarian condition, but instead is a hormonal
disturbance with diverse health effects that is largely inherited. The process
of diagnosing PCOS needs to be improved, and the diverse set of metabolic,
reproductive and psychological features need to be understood and
addressed." A Few Key Features of
- Having increased number of immature
eggs in the ovaries, which is detected through ultrasound.
- Higher levels of testosterone characterized
by clinical features like excess body hair.
- Irregular menstrual cycle or
absences of menses.
Researchers conducted an international cross-sectional study. The
initial studies were conducted in Australia and then the researchers approached
two large international PCOS patient support groups - U.S based PCOS Challenge
and U.K based Verity.
Questionnaires were distributed to the participants through their
Eligibility criteria for the study:
- Women should be over 18 years of age
- They should be diagnosed with PCOS
"We were interested in women's
diagnosis experience and satisfaction with information and educational
materials they received at the time of diagnosis," Teede said.
Initially 1550 women from 32 countries responded to the survey.
But 165 participants were excluded because they did not fit
So a total of
1385 women were enrolled for the survey.
Nearly half of the women surveyed internationally
saw three or more healthcare providers before they were diagnosed.
For a third
of the respondents, the diagnostic process took more than two
Some of the respondents reported
waiting for months or years for a diagnosis. They
also had to visit multiple healthcare professionals.
A wait of six months
or longer for diagnosis increased
the level of dissatisfaction
among women compared to those who were diagnosed in a shorter period.
"Our findings show women are
dissatisfied with the diagnosis experience and that there are clear
opportunities to improve awareness, diagnosis and health outcomes for women
with PCOS," Teede said.
Less than a quarter of the survey
respondents were satisfied with the information they received about common
treatments for PCOS, including lifestyle management and medications, when they
were diagnosed with the condition.
More than half reported that they had
not received any information
about long-term PCOS complications or emotional counseling or support.
The survey results, along with new
international guidelines and awareness education initiative, will be used to
improve PCOS education and care.
titled "Delayed Diagnosis and a Lack of Information
Associated with Dissatisfaction in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome,"
is published in the Endocrine Society's Journal
of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome - (https://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/polycystic-ovary-syndrome.html)
- What is PCOS? - (http://www.pcosfoundation.org/what-is-pcos)