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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Mental Health: A Review

Himelein, Melissa J. PhD*†; Thatcher, Samuel S. MD, PhD

Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey: November 2006 - Volume 61 - Issue 11 - p 723-732
doi: 10.1097/01.ogx.0000243772.33357.84

Although physical symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are increasingly recognized by practicing clinicians, little attention has focused on psychological correlates of this frequent endocrine disorder. This review of medical and psychological literature indicates that PCOS is associated with several mental health problems, including depression and anxiety, body dissatisfaction and eating disorders, diminished sexual satisfaction, and lowered health-related quality of life. Although the causal direction of these relationships has not been established, it is clear that effective and comprehensive treatment of women with PCOS must encompass careful attention to psychological symptomatology. Recommendations for the assessment of specific mental health problems, management of related physical concerns, and treatment of obesity among women with PCOS are presented.

Target Audience: Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Family Physicians

Learning Objectives: After completion of this article, the reader should be able to explain that, in addition to physiologic changes, women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have various mental health problems and lowered health-related quality of life issues and state that treatment must address these concerns.

*Professor, Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Asheville, Asheville, North Carolina; †Psychologist, Center for Applied Reproductive Science, Johnson City, Tennessee, and Asheville, North Carolina; and ‡Director, Center for Applied Reproductive Science, Johnson City, Tennessee, and Asheville, North Carolina

Chief Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series of continuing education activities in this Journal through which a total of 36 AMA/PRA category 1 credits™ can be earned in 2006. Instructions for how CME credits can be earned appear on the last page of the Table of Contents.

The authors have disclosed that they have no financial relationships with or interests in any commercial companies pertaining to this educational activity.

The authors have disclosed that metformin has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome. Please consult product labeling for the approved usage of this drug.

Lippincott Continuing Medical Education Institute, Inc. has identified and resolved all faculty conflicts of interest regarding this educational activity.

Reprint requests to: Melissa J. Himelein, PhD, Department of Psychology, CPO #1960, UNC-Asheville, Asheville, NC 28804-8508. E-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.