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Authors say findings show need for body image screening in clinical practice.

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) experience greater body image concerns than women without PCOS, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society, held from June 15 to 18 in Chicago.

Punith Kempegowda, M.D., from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a literature review to identify studies assessing differences in body image concerns among women and individuals with and without PCOS. Analysis included nine studies (918 women with PCOS and 865 women without PCOS).

The researchers found that using the Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire Appearance Scales (MBSRQ-AS; three studies), those with PCOS reported feeling worse on appearance evaluation and appearance orientation versus those without PCOS. Two studies showed higher overweight preoccupation, body areas satisfaction, and body weight classification on MBSRQ-AS subscales for those with PCOS versus without. Using the Body Esteem Scale for Adolescents and Adults (BESAA; two studies), there were significantly lower scores observed for the weight subscale in those with PCOS versus those without, although no significant differences were seen in the BESAA appearance and attribution subscales.

“Our study emphasizes the need for increased awareness and screening for body image concerns in those with PCOS as it may increase the risk of developing eating disorders and adversely affect their quality of life,” Kempegowda said in a statement.

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