Many women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) report high depression rates. The relationship between PCOS and these high depression rates is unclear. Two-component lifestyle interventions have revealed short-term effects on depression scores in this group of women. In general, 3-component interventions including diet, exercise, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are more effective in the long-term to improve emotional well-being. This has not yet been studied in women with PCOS. This study examined the effect of 20 CBT lifestyle (LS) sessions combined with a healthy diet and physical therapy with or without 9 months additional feedback through Short Message Service (SMS) via mobile phone, compared to care as usual (CAU, involving advice to lose weight). In this secondary analysis, 155 women with PCOS and a BMI above 25 kg/m2 were eligible. Depression scores decreased significantly in the LS programme compared to CAU (P = 0.045). In both the LS programme without SMS (P = 0.036) and the LS programme with SMS (P = 0.011) depression scores decreased while no change was observed in CAU (P = 0.875). Self-esteem scores improved significantly in the LS programme compared to CAU (P = 0.027). No differences in body image scores were observed in LS participants compared to CAU (P = 0.087), although body image improved significantly in both the LS without SMS (P = 0.001) and with SMS (P = 0.008) study arms. We found no significant mediating role by androgens in the relationship between LS participants and emotional well-being. Only weight-loss mediated the relationship between LS and self-esteem. To conclude, a three-component lifestyle intervention programme with or without additional SMS resulted in significant improvements in depression and self-esteem compared to CAU, in women with PCOS, obesity, and a wish to achieve a pregnancy. Testosterone, androstenedione, DHEA, insulin, HOMA-IR, and cortisol did not mediate this effect. Weight loss mediated the effects on self-esteem but not on depression and body-image. This suggests that lifestyle treatment independent of weight loss can reduce depression and body-image, but both lifestyle treatment and weight loss can improve self-esteem. Thus, a three-component lifestyle intervention based on CBT could prove successful in improving mood in women with PCOS who are overweight or obese and attempting to become pregnant.

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Journal PLoS ONE
Jiskoot, L.G, Dietz de Loos, A. (Alexandra), Beerthuizen, A, Timman, R, van Busschbach, J.J, & Laven, J.S.E. (2020). Long-term effects of a three-component lifestyle intervention on emotional well-being in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): A secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial. PLoS ONE, 15(6). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0233876