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Prevalence of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and relationship with obesity/overweight: cross-sectional study in Saudi Arabia

Khlood Aldossary, Atheer Alotaibi, Khlood Alkhaldi, Rahaf Alharbi


Introduction: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disease that affects many women worldwide, with symptoms that include insulin resistance, hair growth, irregular menstrual cycles, and in some cases, infertility. Obesity continues to be quite prominent around the world, and there have been some reports of a relationship between obesity and PCOS, although few studies have explored this in the Arab World. Therefore, the objective of this study was to test the association between PCOS and obesity in a population of university students at a major university in Saudi Arabia. Methods: A population-based cross-sectional study, in which an online questionnaire was sent to 150 female students studying pharmacy at Princess Nourah University in Saudi Arabia in March 2020.  100 students responded to the questionnaire, which included questions on medical information, especially ones related to PCOS symptoms. Results: The prevalence of self-reported PCOS was found to be 16%. 19.4% were overweight and 6.1% were obese, while 28% of obese and overweight had PCOS. This indicates a positive association between obesity and PCOS, but no significant relationship between PCOS and being underweight was found. Conclusion: While there is a relationship between obesity and PCOS, it is unclear whether obesity is a risk factor for PCOS or not. However, there should be intervention programs that tackle this relationship. Future studies should explore this relationship further and focus on whether it is a causal relationship or not.

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