Sexual function in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis
We present the first systematic review and meta-analysis of sexual function in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) compared with women without PCOS. Data on this topic are limited and often contradicting. Sexual function is influenced by endocrine, mental and social factors, which are often compromised in women with PCOS. The main outcome measures were validated sexual function questionnaires and visual analogue scales (VAS). We identified and assessed 1925 original articles; 18 articles were included. Significant small effect sizes were found on sexual function subscales (total score: P = 0.006; arousal: P = 0.019; lubrication: P = 0.023; satisfaction: P = 0.015; orgasm: P = 0.028), indicating impaired sexual function in women with PCOS. Large effect sizes for the effect of body hair on sex were shown on VAS (P = 0.006); social effect of appearance (P = 0.007); sexual attractiveness (P < 0.001). Satisfaction with sex life was impaired (P < 0.001), but sexual satisfaction was rated equally important in women with PCOS and controls. We conclude that a satisfying sex life is important for women with PCOS; however, sexual function and feelings of sexual attractiveness are impaired. The findings imply that sexual function, sexual satisfaction and psychosocial functioning need to be part of every clinical assessment of women with PCOS.