Mood and sexual function in polycystic ovary syndrome

Seminars in reproductive medicine 2008 Jan

Mood and sexual function in polycystic ovary syndrome

Janssen OE, Hahn S, Tan S, Benson S, Elsenbruch S.
Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Molecular Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, USA. onno@onnojanssen.de

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) fail to conform with societal norms for outer appearance. Many PCOS patients thus feel stigmatized in the sense of a loss of “feminine identity.”

In addition to somatic impairment, mood disturbances such as depression and limitations in emotional well-being, quality of life, and life satisfaction, the diagnosis of PCOS also has a negative impact on sexual self-worth and sexual satisfaction.

Both obesity and hirsutism are major determinants of the physical component of quality of life in affected women. However, its psychological aspect appears to be inherent and specific for PCOS.

Confirmation of the diagnosis and provision of detailed information to affected women, together with the availability of interdisciplinary treatment aimed at improving PCOS-related symptoms, such as hirsutism, obesity, menstrual irregularity, and infertility, will also reduce psychological distress and improve sexual self-worth.

New treatment options, including insulin sensitizers, psychological counseling, and participation in a PCOS support group, are likely to further improve life satisfaction and coping of affected women.