Females living with polycystic ovary syndrome are more likely to take their own lives compared to those without the condition, academics have said.

Affecting one in 10 women in the UK, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that impacts how a woman’s ovaries work.

Symptoms of PCOS include irregular periods, facial hair, difficulty getting pregnant, acne, obesity and cysts in the ovaries.

Researchers in Taipei Veterans general hospital in Taiwan have now suggested that people living with the condition are more likely to commit suicide.

During the trial, the team of academics examined the health data of 8,960 women and girls diagnosed with PCOS, all of whom had no previous history of attempting suicide.

In addition, they looked at the health data of women without the condition.

They found that the participants with PCOS had an 8.47-fold higher risk of attempting to commit suicide compared to those living without the condition.

According to the results, the risk of suicide attempts among participants with PCOS under the age of 40 was 9.15 times higher compared to those without the condition.

Meanwhile the risk of suicide attempts was 5.38 times higher for adolescents and 3.75 times higher for older adults with the condition, the study has reported.

Experts believe that suicide attempts could be higher among people with PCOS because of worries over body image and potential infertility.

The authors said: “Body image concerns, including perceived obesity and acne, have been associated with suicide risk during adolescence, and these problems are common among adolescents with PCOS.

“Young adults may experience additional challenges such as unemployment, financial difficulties and relationship problems.”

Dr Sophie Williams, who was not involved in the research, said: “A number of studies had revealed similar findings in recent years, while her own work had raised concerns around self-harm and suicidal ideation among women with PCOS.

“We know that women with PCOS are more likely to have depression and anxiety – that’s been shown time and time again in a number of research papers.”

She added: “[PCOS] is a very, very under researched area in general, and mental health within that is even more under researched.

“Women with PCOS who were experiencing difficulties needed to know they could reach out for help – including through the NHS. It is a very hard first step to take, but it is potentially a life-changing step.”

The study has been published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

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