Stress, Depression, Sexual Function, and Alexithymia in Infertile
Females with and without Polycystic Ovary Syndrome:
A Case-Control Study
Infertile females experience some types of distress such as social stress, depression, and sexual dys- function that may be exacerbated by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The current study aimed at comparing psychological profile of infertile females with PCOS with that of women without PCOS with respect to four domains: infertility stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, and alexithymia.
Materials and Methods
The current case-control study was conducted on 240 infertile females (120 with PCOS and 120 without PCOS) in Fatemeh Azahra Infertility and Reproductive Health Research Center (Babol, Iran) from 2016 to 2017. The following questionnaires were used to collect data: the fertility problem inven- tory (FPI), the female sexual function index (FSFI), the Beck depression inventory-II (BDI-II), and the Toronto alexithymia scale (TAS-20).
Females with PCOS had higher FPI total scores than the ones without PCOS (120.68 ± 29.42 vs. 112.83 ± 30.94). Of the subscales of infertility stress, the mean scores of social stress and rejection of a future life without a child were higher in females with PCOS than the ones without PCOS (P<0.05). Also, the mean total scores of alexithy- mia symptoms (TAS-20) in females with PCOS were significantly higher than those of the ones without PCOS (59.83 ± 11.36 vs. 55.69 ± 11.52). There was no significant difference between the two groups regarding the mean scores of depression symptoms and sexual function.
Infertile females with PCOS experienced higher levels of infertility stress and inability to distinguish and describe their feelings compared with the ones without PCOS. It is suggested that infertility care providers should provide more psychosocial support for infertile females with PCOS.