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Psychiatric complications in women with PCOS often linked to menstrual irr
Date:3/24/2014

(NEW YORK, NY, March 24, 2014) Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormone imbalance that causes infertility, obesity, and excessive facial hair in women, can also lead to severe mental health issues including anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. A study supervised by Columbia University School of Nursing professor Nancy Reame, MSN, PhD, FAAN, and published in the Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, identifies the PCOS complications that may be most responsible for psychiatric problems. While weight gain and unwanted body hair can be distressing, irregular menstrual cycles is the symptom of PCOS most strongly associated with psychiatric problems, the study found.

"We were surprised to find that menstrual abnormalities in women with PCOS was the strongest predictor for mental health issues, particularly when there are so many other symptomslike beard growth and infertilitythat can make a woman feel unfeminine," says senior author Nancy Reame, the Mary Dickey Lindsay Professor of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at Columbia Nursing. "The study findings suggest that we can't treat PCOS effectively unless we pay close attention to any signs of mental distress."

The study evaluated psychological symptoms in 126 women diagnosed with PCOS. Participants completed surveys using a standard tool for evaluating mental health, the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), and their responses were compared with those of adult women in the general population and of adult women undergoing outpatient psychiatric care. While small, and not a randomized controlled trial, the study offers insight into the psychiatric manifestations of different PCOS symptoms, Reame says. Body hair and menstrual problems most strongly predicted anxiety, while obesity was most strongly associated with hostility, the study found.

In addition, the study found that for all nine mental health disorders measured by the BSI, the women with PCOS had si
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Contact: Lisa Rapaport
lr2692@cumc.columbia.edu
212-342-3795
Columbia University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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