A study presented at ENDO 2022 laid bare the excess direct healthcare costs of mental health disorders associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in the United States, finding those costs reached almost $6 billion in 2021.
The authors of the study point out that PCOS affects one in seven reproductive-aged women worldwide, and represents a significant financial burden to our health care. “Women with PCOS have an increased risk for developing mental health (MH) disorders, in part due to biochemical changes, constant concerns regarding physical appearance, and social stigma from hirsutism, obesity, and infertility,” the authors write.
The researchers wanted to calculate the healthcare-related costs of mental health disorders in women with PCOS, so they reviewed 19 studies that included a total of 28,482 women with PCOS and 27,124 without the condition. “As anxiety, depression, and eating disorders were by far the most common MH disorders assessed by the studies, we performed our meta-analysis on these disorders,” the authors write.
They analyzed the odds of anxiety, depression, and eating disorders among patients diagnosed with PCOS. They found that women with PCOS were 77% more likely to have anxiety, 53% more likely to have eating disorders, and more than twice as likely to have depression compared to women without PCOS. The researchers then calculated the excess costs of these mental health disorders for women with PCOS in the United States and estimated the direct PCOS-related healthcare costs in 2021 were $2.987 billion for depression, $2.216 billion for anxiety, and $694 million for eating disorders.
“This work is the first to estimate the excess direct healthcare costs of MH disorders associated with PCOS. Overall, the direct healthcare costs for the most common MH disorders in PCOS, namely depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, exceeded $6 billion in 2021 USD for the U.S. population alone,” the authors conclude. “Taken together with our prior work, these data suggest that the healthcare-related economic burden of PCOS exceeds $14 billion yearly, considering the costs of diagnosis, and MH, reproductive, vascular, and metabolic disorders (but not indirect and intangible costs). As PCOS is a global disorder with much the same prevalence across the world, the excess economic burden attributable to PCOS globally is enormous, mandating that the scientific and policy community increase its focus on this important disorder.”