PCOS associated with poorer health, more use of drugs


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Women with polycystic ovary syndrome are more likely to have countless medical conditions, use medication more often, and report poorer health than women who have not had the disease, according to a Finnish population-based study.

“I’ve been working on PCOS for more than 20 years, and during that time I’ve seen emerging evidence that instead of labeling PCOS as an infertility problem, we should look at PCOS as a health risk.” Terhi T. Piltonen, Ph.D. a consultant in obstetrics / gynecology and reproductive medicine and a clinical researcher at the University of Oulu in Finland, told Healio.

The data obtained from Kujanpää L, et al. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2022; doi: 10.1111 / aogs.14382.

Piltonen and colleagues used data from the 1966 Northern Finland Birth Group to assess health risks among 246 women who reported oligomenorrhea, amenorrhea and hirsutism at 31 years of age and / or a diagnosis of PCOS at 46 years of age. and 1,573 women who were or were not diagnosed with PCOS at age 46.

Participants themselves reported their diagnoses and symptoms, overall health, medication use, and use of health services through questionnaires administered at age 46.

Health status

A higher proportion of women with PCOS reported hypertension (30.4% vs. 17.9%); type 2 diabetes mellitus (6.7% vs. 2.2%); depression (20.5% vs. 14%); migraine (34.2% vs. 24.7%); osteoarthritis of the knee, back or shoulder (26.8% vs. 18.1%); fractures (24.5% vs. 16.8%); gestational diabetes (30.2% vs. 25.1%); preeclampsia (15.5% vs. 8.7%) and endometriosis (13.4% vs. 8.4%) compared to women who did not have PCOS.

Adjustments for BMI, physical activity, education, marital status, alcohol consumption, and smoking revealed that women with PCOS were significantly more likely to report hypertension (adjusted OR = 1.76; 95% CI, 1.27-2, 44), any arthrosis (aOR = 1.66; 95% CI, 1.2-2.29), migraine (aOR = 1.58; 95% CI, 1.17-2.13), tendinitis (aOR = 951 (95% CI, 1.22-2.68) and endometriosis (aOR = 1.81, 91% CI, 95% CI, 1.2-2.29); -2.76).

Women with PCOS are also more likely to have autoimmune diseases – such as joint pain (aOR = 1.46; 95% CI, 1.1-1.94) and joint swelling (aOR = 1.49; 95% CI). , 1.05-2.11) – and recurrent upper respiratory tract infections and tract symptoms – such as multiple cases of pneumonia (aOR = 1.91; 95% CI, 1.28-2.86) and more susceptible of infections compared to other people (aOR = 2.13; 95% CI, 1.28-3.54).

In general, women with PCOS had a higher risk of morbidity than their counterparts, even when corrected for confusing factors (RR = 1.37; 95% CI, 1.17-1.6). In particular, women with PCOS are more likely than their counterparts to have five or more comorbidities, while women without PCOS are more likely to have fewer than three comorbidities.

Medicines, health services

In general, women with PCOS had a higher risk of drug use than those without the disorder (RR = 1.27; 95% CI, 1.08-1.5). In particular, they were more likely to use drugs grouped as ‘digestive tract and metabolism’, ‘dermatological’, ‘systemic hormonal preparations, excluding sex hormones and insulin’ and ‘nervous system’, according to the study.

Despite the higher risk of disease, symptoms and drug use observed in women with PCOS, there were no significant differences in the number of visits to healthcare providers between women with and without PCOS (OR = 1.18; 95% CI, 0.998 -1,393).

Pilton said that PCOS should be diagnosed early, which “means that diagnostic criteria and tools must be well recognized, accepted and accepted in clinical practice.”

In addition to developing these tools, Piltonen said researchers need to evaluate the impact of PCOS after menopause.

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