Introduction: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine abnormality in women with an estimated prevalence of 68%. Women with PCOS have a known increased prevalence of prediabetes (3040%), type 2 diabetes (T2DM 10%), and metabolic syndrome (40%). We determined the prevalence of recorded PCOS through a structured primary care based T2DM screening programme.
Methodology: Eligibility criterion for a structured and systematic screening programme for T2DM in 19 general practices included age between 2575 years for South Asian and 4075 years for White European people. Out of 30 060 eligible women, 3527 (11.7%) attended the study. Response to a questionnaire including a question on previous history of PCOS was analysed in this cohort of 3527 women. Computer database in all related GP practices were searched for a recorded diagnosis of PCOS.
Results: Of 3527 women attending screening, 47 (1.3%) (mean age 47.8 years, range 2675 years) answered yes to having a past history of PCOS. Of these only 10 (21%) had a record of the diagnosis in their GP practice. Of 30 060 eligible women from 19 practices only 151 (0.5%) had a recorded diagnosis of PCOS (mean age 36.6 years, range 2560 years).
Discussion: Although, we could not attempt to confirm the diagnosis in our cohort, PCOS appears to be both insufficiently diagnosed and under-recorded in primary care with a prevalence of 0.5% compared to the expected 68%.
Women with PCOS have multiple risk factors for increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. There is a clear need to increase awareness of this condition in the public and primary care setting to facilitate more proactive cardiovascular and glucose monitoring in this high risk group.