Risk Factors for Psychological Distress and Impaired Quality of Life in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Nursing Care

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Objective: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a multidimensional endocrine disorder and the leading female infertility. PCOS is characterized as a clustering of clinical concerns, which include hyperandrogenism, obesity, and menstrual abnormalities/infertility. These characteristics were examined with regard to their impact on women's psychosocial concerns and health related quality of life. Design: Cross-sectional, correlational Setting: Private endocrinology practice in the rural Southeastern U.S. Participants: The study sample consisted of 126 women with PCOS. Methods: Convenience sampling yielded 126 subjects who met the diagnosis for PCOS, underwent laboratory testing and physical assessment, completed psychological and quality of life survey instruments and were included in data analysis. Results: Results of multiple regression analyses, controlling for demographic covariates, were completed on markers of hyperandrogenism, obesity and current fertility intent. Findings revealed hirsutism was significantly related to increased symptoms of anxiety and somatization and decreased quality of life among women with PCOS, while elevated androgen levels were significantly related to decreased quality of life. Current fertility intent significantly impacted symptoms related to interpersonal sensitivity, anxiety, psychoticism, and the global symptom severity index. Specifically, women not currently trying to conceive had higher levels of these psychological symptom outcomes. Conclusion/Implications for nursing practice: Women with PCOS are at elevated risk for psychological distress, and psychological symptoms appear to increase with increasing severity of PCOS symptoms. Women not currently trying to conceive appear to be at higher risk for psychological distress and lower quality of life.

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