Polycystic ovary syndrome: a psychosocial approach.

Simone Moreira, Elvira Soares, Geraldez Tomaz, Tecia Maranhão, George Azevedo


The polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine-gynecologic disturbance characterized mainly by chronic anovulation and hyperandrogenism, affecting between 5 and 10% of reproductive-age women. The main manifestations of PCOS include the following symptoms: menstrual irregularity, excess body hair, infertility, acne, androgenetic alopecia, obesity and acantose nigricans. These symptoms appear quite heterogeneously, with marked differences in their prevalence and intensity among different groups of women with PCOS. Despite being a biological condition, PCOS is not only a physical problem, but also a psychosocial one, interfering and compromising the quality of life of the women affected. Based on a review of the literature, this study discusses the psychosocial aspects of women with PCOS, highlighting the impact of symptoms on health-related quality of life. Considering that every woman responds differently to the symptoms that present themselves, we emphasize the importance of integrating the individual perspective of women with PCOS to their social context. In this sense, research findings are discussed using quantitative and qualitative methodological approaches to better understand the experience of women faced with PCOS. The symptoms of PCOS may be associated with the occurrence of anxiety, sexual dysfunctions and feelings of inadequacy in the female role, and may also trigger depressive symptoms and social isolation, significantly compromising quality of life. The authors underscore the importance of multidisciplinary care for women with PCOS, considering this condition to be an important psychosocial problem. Attention to the psychosocial aspects of PCOS has increased in recent years; however, related scientific production is still scarce.

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