The Pathophysiology Behind PCOS: Inflammation
A Literature Review
Purpose of review
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder among reproductive aged women, with a prevalence of 16.6-18% according to the 2003 Rotterdam criteria (1-3). Though PCOS is extremely common, up to 70% of women with the syndrome are undiagnosed (3). The PCOS diagnosis is one of ovarian dysfunction and hyperandrogenism, and as such has important implications for reproductive health (see Table 1; NIH, 2012). However, in addition to these reproductive criteria – which tend to manifest as hirsutism, infertility, and pregnancy complications – PCOS is marked by…show more content… One of the first studies to explore the association between PCOS and cardiovascular disease found that of 143 women having cardiac catheterization for assessment of chest pain or valvular disease, 42% had polycystic ovaries on ultrasound; those women also presented with more extensive coronary artery disease than women with normal ovaries (11). A recent meta-analysis reported a 2-fold risk for arterial disease in patients with PCOS as compared to women without PCOS; BMI adjustment did not affect this finding (12). Though there is still controversy surrounding this association (13, 14, 15), most research corroborates the negative impact PCOS has on cardiovascular health (9, 10)Randeva et al., 2012; Loucks, 2013).
A diagnosis of PCOS yields mental consequences as well as physical. The most common clinical manifestations of PCOS, namely acne, excess body and facial hair, infertility, and obesity, can present challenges to female identity and body image. Women with PCOS report decreased psychological well-being, specifically increased levels of depression and anxiety, an increased response to stress, negative body image, and low self-esteem (16-18). These women also report negative psychosexual and social implications of PCOS (18, Benetti-Pinto et al., 2015). In fact, when compared to those with asthma, epilepsy, diabetes, back pain, arthritis and coronary heart disease, women with PCOS have been found to have the same or better physical