Quality of life and psychosocial aspects of polycystic ovary syndrome: a quali-quantitative approach

PURPOSE: To evaluate the quality of life of women with polycystic ovary syndrome (POS) and to learn about the experience of these women regarding the symptoms of their disease. METHODS: The study complementarily employed two methodological approaches - quantitative and qualitative ones. The quality of life of 213 women was evaluated (quantitative approach) using the SF-36 questionnaire. Of these, 109 had POS (Case Group: 26.8±5.4 years of age) and 104 were healthy (Control Group: 23.9±6.7 years of age). Data were analyzed statistically by the Student t-test, the chi-square test and the Pearson correlation test, with the level of significance set at 5%. Fifteen women with POS participated in the quantitative study and were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. The qualitative data were analyzed by the technique of categorical thematic analysis. RESULTS: The women with POS showed impaired quality of life compared to Control (functional capacity: 76.5±20.5 and 84.6±15.9, respectively; physical aspects 56.4±43.3 and 72.6±33.3; general health status: 55.2±21.0 and 62.5±17.2; vitality: 49.6±21.3 and 55.3±21.3; social aspects: 55.3±32.4 and 66.2±26.7; emotional aspects: 34.2±39.7 and 52.9±38.2; mental health: 50.6±22.8 and 59.2±20.2). Regarding the qualitative data, thematic categorical analysis revealed that feelings of "abnormality", sadness, fear and anxiety were associated with the main symptoms of POS, i.e., hirsutism, menstrual irregularity, infertility and obesity. These symptoms affected the social, professional and marital life of these women. CONCLUSION: POS compromises the quality of life of affected women, causing them to feel that they are different from other women. Thus, women with POS do not simply require medical treatment regarding the reproductive, aesthetic and metabolic effects of the disease, but also need multiprofessional care.

Polycystic ovary syndrome; Psychology; Quality of life; Patient care team

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