Women with polycystic ovary syndrome are at increased risk of experiencing delivery-related child birth complications and cardiovascular disease after menopause

Washington, D.C.- A population-based study of 9.1 million births from 2004 to 2014 found that women with the hormonal disorder polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are at an increased risk of experiencing delivery-related complications, including cesarean delivery, infections, and giving birth to a child with congenital anomalies.   

Utilizing data from the Healthcare and Utilization Project’s National Inpatient Sample, a publicly available all-payer inpatient care database representing over 96% of the U.S. population, researchers from McGill University in Montreal compared baseline clinical and demographic characteristics between women with PCOS and those without PCOS for the study. Women with the disorder were more likely to experience preterm pre-labor rupture of membranes, preterm delivery, placental abruption, and cesarean delivery.  

PCOS is a condition in which the ovaries contain many cystic follicles that are associated with chronic anovulation and overproduction of androgens (male hormones). Symptoms may include irregular menstrual periods, obesity, excessive growth of central body hair (hirsutism), and infertility. The World Health Organization estimated that in 2010, 116 million women worldwide had PCOS.  

According to another study to be presented at the 2020 Scientific Congress, PCOS can also affect women later in life. Women diagnosed with the disorder are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease following menopause. In this study, 174 women with PCOS and 1166 women without PCOS from age 42-52 met criteria for inclusion. At baseline, women with PCOS more frequently smoked cigarettes, had higher body mass index, systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, and fasting blood glucose for all comparisons.  

“PCOS affects over 10% of women world-wide and is a syndrome that is not isolated to any one organ in the female body. It presents itself in many different ways. Women diagnosed may need lifelong treatment for various associated conditions. Therefore, defining and individualizing treatment for each patient is very important for women suffering from PCOS.” Said Ricardo Azziz MD, ASRM CEO.  

For almost a century, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has been the global leader in multidisciplinary reproductive medicine research, ethical practice, and education. ASRM impacts reproductive care and science worldwide by creating funding opportunities for advancing reproduction research and discovery, by providing evidence-based education and public health information, and by advocating for reproductive health care professionals and the patients they serve. With members in more than 100 countries, the Society is headquartered in Washington, DC, with additional operations in Birmingham, AL.

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