Psychological gender of patients with polycystic ovary syndrome

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2012 Mar 24. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0412.2012.01408.x. [Epub ahead of print]
Psychological gender of patients with polycystic ovary syndrome.

Kowalczyk R, Skrzypulec V, Lew-Starowicz Z, Nowosielski K, Grabski B, Merk W.

Department of Public Health, Warsaw Medical University, Warsaw Department of Sexology, Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow University, Cracow Department of Women’s Disease Control and Prevention, School of Health Care, Medical University of Silesia, Katowice Specialist Endocrinology, Gynecological and Obstetrics Practice, Mikolow Medical Centre for Postgraduate Education, Department of Sexology and Psychotherapy, Warsaw Department of Adult Psychiatry, University Hospital, Cracow Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland.

Objective. We compared women with PCOS to a control group with regard to intensity of hirsutism and psychological gender.

Design. Cohort study, 2005 to 2009. Setting. Gynecologic endocrinology clinic and gynecologic practice, Silesian area, Poland.

89 women aged 17-42 years with PCOS, in two groups (S1, S2) by age < or ≥ 31 years, and age-stratified controls of 45 healthy women.

We used the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ 12), Ferriman-Gallwey score and Psychological Gender Inventory, to assess masculinity and femininity through self-reported possession of socially desirable, stereotypical personality traits (masculine, feminine, androgynous, undifferentiated), supplemented by questions concerning social status (education, profession) and gynecological history.

All questionnaires were anonymous and independently answered during clinic visits.

Main outcome measures.
Influence of PCOS and concomitant hirsutism on psychological gender.

Hirsutism (moderate or severe intensity) was observed in a considerably higher number of women from both PCOS groups compared to controls (S1: 49.0% vs. 20.0%, p < 0.05, S2: 41.9% vs. 16.7%, p < 0.05 respectively).

Women ≥ 31 years with PCOS viewed themselves more often as sexually undifferentiated than controls (31.8% vs. 6.7%, p < 0.01), less likely to identify with a female gender scheme (18.2% vs. 33.3%), and more likely to see themselves as androgynous (50.0% vs. 40.9%).

Women with PCOS have, depending on age and severity of disease, problems with psychological gender identification. Duration oand severity of PCOS can negatively affect the self-image of patients, lead to a disturbed identification with the female-gender scheme and associated with it, social roles.

© 2012 The Authors Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica© 2012 Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology.