Objective: The objective was to assess the impact of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) on the quality of life of in women attending a patient-centred, nurse-led endocrine clinic.
Method: An audit was conducted of quality of life data for N=152 women attending the clinic for management of PCOS. While one important focus of the clinic is weight management, not all these patients were overweight or obese (weight range 44.7159.6 kg, mean weight 89.3 kg). Patients at the clinic routinely complete the PCOSQ (Cronin et al. 1998) at their first appointment. The PCOSQ is the only validated quality of life measure specifically focused on PCOS. It assesses five domains, scored from 17, with lower scores indicating a greater adverse effect on quality of life. (A score of less than 5 for any domain indicates significant adverse impact).
Results: Analysis of the 152 questionnaires showed that PCOS had a significant adverse impact on quality of life in all domains measured by the PCOSQ. The domains with greatest adverse impact were (in descending order): weight (mean score =2.79), body hair (3.57), emotions (3.71), menstrual problems (3.75) and infertility (3.84).
Conclusions: The endocrine PCOS clinic serves a diverse patient group. Although many patients were obese, and weight had the greatest adverse impact on quality of life overall, other symptoms also caused significant distress. The PCOSQ is a useful clinical tool to identify individual patients concerns, and to detect changes in quality of life over time. However, the measure has some limitations. For example, some symptoms (e.g. acne) are not addressed at all, while symptom experience and quality of life are conflated in other domains. This suggests that a more refined tool is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment interventions.