Body image concerns in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Meri Davitadze, Kashish Malhotra, Halimah Khalil, Meghnaa Hebbar, Chau Thien Tay, Aya Mousa, Helena Teede, Leah Brennan, Elisabet Stener-Victorin, Punith Kempegowda, PCOS SEva team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To assess differences in body image concerns among women with and without polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). DESIGN: This is a systematic review and meta-analysis. METHODS: Electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, APA PsychInfo, PUBMED, Web-of-Science Core Collection, and Cochrane Controlled Register of Trials [CENTRAL]) were searched from inception through July 2022. Outcome measures included validated questionnaires reporting on body image concerns. Methodological quality was assessed by the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations (GRADE) system, and included studies were assessed for risk of bias. Meta-analyses were performed using the inverse variance method based on random or fixed effects models (Review Manager, Version 5). RESULTS: A total of 918 women with PCOS and 865 women without PCOS from 9 studies were included. Meta-analysis of 3 studies using Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire Appearance Scale (MBSRQ-AS) showed those with PCOS reported higher dissatisfaction with appearance evaluation and appearance orientation compared to those without PCOS (mean difference [MD] = -0.78, I2 = 0%, P < .00001, and MD = 0.22, I2 = 54%, P = .004, respectively). Meta-analysis of 2 studies showed higher dissatisfaction with overweight preoccupation, lower body area satisfaction, and body weight classification on MBSRQ-AS subscales in those with PCOS compared to those without PCOS (all P < .001). Meta-analysis of 2 studies using the Body Esteem Scale for Adolescents and Adults (BESAA) showed significantly lower scores for the weight subscale in those with PCOS compared to those without PCOS (P = .03). CONCLUSIONS: Those with PCOS experience more significant body image concerns, emphasising the importance of awareness in the clinical care of PCOS. Considering the limited evidence, further studies are warranted to identify drivers and mitigating factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R1-R9
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Endocrinology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2023


  • body dissatisfaction
  • body dysmorphia
  • body image concerns
  • polycystic ovary syndrome

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