PCOS Connected to Chronic Health Conditions in Women

Women diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome are more likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions than those without the hormone disorder.

A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism determined that women diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have twice as many hospital admissions and are more likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, mental health issues, reproductive disorders, and endometrial cancer than those without the hormone disorder.

For the retrospective cohort study, researchers compared the medical records of 2566 women aged 15 years and older who were diagnosed with PCOS during a hospital visit between 1997 and 2011 to those of 25,660 women of similar ages.

In doing so, they found that women diagnosed with PCOS were more likely to be hospitalized for reasons unrelated to their reproductive health, such as mental health disorders. Additionally, PCOS patients had higher rates of endometrial cancer and were more prone to developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

"PCOS has profound implications for a women's reproductive health as well as her long-term risk of chronic illness," said study author Roger Hart, MD, in a press release. “…Additional health care resources should be directed to address the risks facing this population."

According to the Office of Women's Health in the US Department of Health and Human Services, up to 5 million women nationwide have PCOS, a leading cause of infertility. A clinical practice guideline from the Endocrine Society recommends screening women diagnosed with PCOS for heart disease risk factors and diabetes.