- Adult patients have a 9 times higher risk, while for adolescents it is 5 times higher
- Researchers say it is due to self-confidence issues that result from the symptoms.
- READ MORE: Chronic ovarian cysts increase risk of mental problems in women
Women with a common reproductive disorder are eight times more likely to take their own lives than those without it, according to a new study of nearly 20,000 women.
Researchers at Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan analyzed the health outcomes of women ages 12 to 64 with PCOS over 15 years.
The condition affects approximately one in 10 American women of childbearing age and affects the functioning of the ovaries, which affects fertility.
There are three main characteristics of the disease; irregular ovulation, increased testosterone, and small fluid-filled sacs forming in the ovaries.
This results in a variety of symptoms including scant periods, weight gain, excessive hair growth, and fertility problems.
Studies show that about a third of infertility cases in women are related to polycystic ovary syndrome.
Now, the latest research suggests that mental illness should be added to the list of devastating problems associated with this condition.
Women who have polycystic ovary syndrome develop fluid-filled sacs in their ovaries due to too much of the hormone androgen and are at increased risk of mental illness, the study found.
PCOS has gained widespread attention thanks to public figures such as actress Daisy Ridley (pictured), who have spoken openly about their experiences living with PCOS.
The authors wrote: “Of note, people diagnosed with PCOS face increased susceptibility to suicide attempts and self-harm compared to those without the condition.”
As for the reasons, the researchers suggested that it may be related in part to self-confidence issues that result from the symptoms.
Issues such as weight gain, acne and excessive hair growth could “negatively affect their body image and self-confidence, causing psychological distress,” they commented.
They added: “Challenges associated with fertility and managing PCOS symptoms could further exacerbate existing mental health challenges.”
The condition has gained more attention in recent years, especially as high-profile women have opened up about their struggles with PCOS.
Actress Daisy Ridley, for example, revealed in 2016 that the pain she was feeling and the effects of the condition on her complexion made her “so self-conscious” that her sense of confidence was “in tatters.”
In their study, the researchers looked at women with and without PCOS and looked at the percentage in each group with psychiatric diagnoses known to carry a high risk of suicide.
This includes schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and substance/alcohol use.
A similar percentage of each group suffered from psychiatric disorders: about 10 percent.
However, the researchers found that women with PCOS had an 8.47 times higher risk of attempting suicide compared to women without the condition, on average.
When they broke that down by age group, the authors found that the risk of suicide attempts was 5.38 times higher for teenagers, 9.15 times higher for adults under 40, and 3.75 times higher for older adults. , compared to controls.
The decreased risk of suicide attempts in old age may be due to improved symptoms as women approach menopause, such as menstrual regularity.
However, testosterone levels remain imbalanced, which is why older women with PCOS still experience poorer mental health.
When researchers looked at women without mental health problems, they found that patients with PCOS were 8.34 times more likely to attempt suicide compared to those without the condition.
The authors said: “These findings emphasize the importance of medical surveillance in monitoring the mental well-being and suicide risk of patients diagnosed with PCOS.”
Their findings were published in Annals of Internal Medicine.