Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

A common endocrine disorder in adolescent girls and women with concomitant hyperandrogenism and insulin insensitivity is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Features of PCOS include obesity, hirsutism, acne, and amenorrhea (Himelein and Thatcher 2006). Additionally, infertility frequently results from PCOS and is thought to be a stressor that contributes to reduced quality of life and increased depressive symptoms for women and girls

(Trent et al. 2003; Weiner et al. 2004). However, compared with women with infertility due to other causes, those with PCOS report greater depression and dissatisfaction with their body image (Himelein and Thatcher 2006). Furthermore, depressive symptoms and quality of life do not differ between women with PCOS who desire pregnancy and those who do not (Tan et al. 2008). Clearly, depressive symptoms and poor body image result from aspects other than infertility in girls and women with PCOS.

Increased weight among women with PCOS is the most significant contributor to poor quality of life, and menstrual irregularity is the next greatest contributor (Barnard et al. 2007). Women with PCOS are more likely to exhibit eating disorders and anxiety than are unaffected women (Kerchner et al. 2009). Although most studies of depression, quality of life, and body image in PCOS have included women exclusively, data are beginning to emerge revealing that behavioral treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy result in weight loss and fewer depressive symptoms in adolescent girls with this condition (Rofey et al. 2008).

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