Ethnicity May be a Contributing Factor to Comorbidity in PCOS Patients

Washington, DC- A study presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Scientific Congress today delved into the relationship between ethnicity and comorbidity patterns in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.  

Using a hospital electronic health record database and a validated algorithm, researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center identified a total of 5,526 PCOS cases which were then stratified based on EHR-reported race and ethnicity. The study evaluated women who identified as White, African American, Hispanic and Non-Hispanic between the ages of 11 and 44, with women who did not display ICD-9/10 codes for polycystic ovaries or irregular menstruation being counted as controls. 

PCOS is a condition in which the ovaries contain many tiny cysts (follicles) that are associated with chronic anovulation and overproduction of androgens (male hormones). In order to determine comorbidity patterns of PCOS diagnosis—in which a patient simultaneously experiences more than one chronic condition—researchers performed a logistic regression model and found that while endocrine and metabolic diseases are the top comorbid conditions experienced by PCOS patients regardless of race or ethnicity, some racial and ethnic groups have a greater risk of developing specific PCOS comorbidities.  The study found African American patients had higher rates of uterine polyps compared to White patients and Hispanic patients had higher odds of having chronic liver disease and cirrhosis compared to Non-Hispanic patients 

“Since there is no defined cause of PCOS but rather a number of contributing factors, it is important to consider the relationship between PCOS diagnosis, comorbidity patterns and ethnicity in order to gain a better understanding of how PCOS factors may disproportionately interact with other chronic disorders in diverse populations.” Said Marla Lujan, PhD, Chair of the Androgen Excess SIG. 

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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