gynecology and obstetrics medical project, gynecology journal, obstetrics, gynecologic oncology, reproductive medicine, gynecological endoscopy, ultrasonography, gynecology articles

Ginekologia i Poloznictwo
ISSN 1896-3315 e-ISSN 1898-0759

Polycystic ovary syndrome and the perception of body image by women


Author(s): Urszula Sioma-Markowska* and Olszewska Milena

Introduction. Polycystic ovary syndrome is the most common endocrine disease among women in reproductive age. Symptoms of the syndrome can directly affect body image and lead to psychological consequences.

Aim. Evaluation of body image in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.

Material and methods. A group of 214 women in the age range 18-45 years old with diagnosed polycystic ovary syndrome participated in an online survey. The survey used as a data collection tool was created specifically for this paper and includes elements of Głębocka’s self-perception scale and modified Ferriman-Gallwey hirsutism scale. Statistical data analysis was performed in the Statistica program using Student’s t-test. The accepted statistical significance was p ≤ 0,05.

Results. The average age of surveyed women was 25,69 years. Age was found to have a statistically significant effect on satisfaction from body image. Women below age of 25 years have substantially more difficulties with accepting their own appearance (p=0.0446). 4% of surveyed women had normal BMI, 28,5% were overweight, 22% were obese. 17% of the women had had PCOS for over 9 years. 58% of the women noticed that PCOS diagnosis had had an effect on their quality of life. All women had hirsutism. Minimal hair growth was mostly present on the upper back (90%), chest area (73%), lower back (68%) and chin area (67%). Extensive hair growth was most often (21%) present on the upper lip area. 2% of the women are definitely satisfied with their appearance. Every fourth surveyed woman is definitely not satisfied with their appearance. The vast majority of surveyed women have a negative perception of their own body.

Conclusions. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome are not satisfied with their own outer appearance and have a negative body image. Age is a significant factor in own-body perception. Women under the age of 25 find it more difficult to accept their own appearance. The widespread idolization of thinness leads to negative body image among women with normal body weight.