Doctor of Medicine Salla Karjula
Faculty and research unit
University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Medicine, PEDEGO
Field of study
Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Date and time of the thesis defence
Place of the thesis defence
Oulu University Hospital, LS1. Remote access: https://oulu.zoom.us/j/64486664078?pwd=Tko2Z1hHekhJdmFSWGIyL1F5T0trUT09
Topic of the dissertation
Long-term consequences of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) on mental health and health-related quality of life
Docent Henna Cederberg-Tamminen, University of Helsinki
Professor Terhi Piltonen, University of Oulu
The effects of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) on the mental health and quality of life in women extend up until menopausal age
A Doctoral dissertation completed at the University of Oulu concluded that women with PCOS have a nearly twofold risk for depression and a threefold risk for psychosis up to the age of 50. Only a limited amount of previous studies have considered the effects of PCOS on mental health and quality of life in women of late fertile age and close to menopause.
PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder for women of reproductive age and it affects between 9 – 18 % of women depending on the population. The diagnostic criteria for PCOS includes hyperandrogenism, polycystic ovaries and irregular menstrual cycles.
In addition to common comorbidities, such as decreased fertility, and hormonal and metabolic changes, PCOS has been found to predispose women to psychological distress, especially depression and anxiety. The comorbidities of PCOS exert a severe health burden on affected women decreasing quality of life.
Most of the previous studies on mental health and quality of life in women with PCOS have been conducted on women at reproductive age. Thus, it has been unclear how the risk for psychological distress change when women approach menopause.
The aim of the Doctoral dissertation of Salla Karjula (M.D.) was to study psychological distress and quality of life in women with PCOS at the ages of 31 and 46 by utilizing data from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966. The data for assessing the risk for psychosis in PCOS was gathered from the national patient registers.
The results of the research show that women with PCOS have a two to threefold risk for symptoms of anxiety and depression at the ages of 31 and 46. Women with PCOS have a nearly twofold risk for depression up to the age of 46 and a threefold risk for psychosis up to the age of 50. In addition, the quality of life, self-assessed health status, and current life satisfaction had decreased for women with PCOS both at ages 31 and 46. The findings could not be explained by overweight, obesity, hyperandrogenism, or infertility.
Overall, the results of the dissertation suggest that PCOS is an independent risk factor for psychological distress and decreased quality of life for women until late reproductive years. The results also highlight the importance of identification, treatment, and prevention of the long-term health effects of PCOS.
Last updated: 11.2.2021