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Keywords:

  • psychosocial;
  • lived experience;
  • qualitative;
  • polycystic ovary syndrome;
  • PCOS;
  • young women;
  • quality of life;
  • adolescents

ABSTRACT

Objective

To explore the psychosocial effects of living with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) through the experiences of young women diagnosed with this endocrine disorder.

Design

A qualitative, phenomenological methodology was used. Data were obtained through personal, semistructured interviews.

Setting

College campuses in New England.

Participants

A purposive sample of 12 young women with PCOS age 18 to 23 years.

Results

The following themes emerged from analysis of participants’ responses: concerns for older self, feeling physically inferior, coping with symptoms, patient–provider relationship, seeking useable information and support, and coming to terms with a chronic condition.

Conclusions

Participants in this study faced numerous physical, social, and emotional challenges on a daily basis. As these young women gathered information relevant to their needs, sought and received social support, and maintained their daily routines to improve their health and appearance, they came to terms with this chronic condition. Based on participants’ relayed experiences, it became evident that a need exists for health care practitioners to include psychosocial support in a comprehensive holistic plan for the treatment of PCOS in adolescents and young women in their early twenties.