The most common hormonal disorder affecting women of childbearing age – polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – cost an estimated $ 8 billion to diagnose and treat nationwide in 2020, according to new economic analysis published in the Endocrine Society. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
PCOS is a common disorder characterized by irregular periods, disruption of normal metabolism, and high levels of testosterone. PCOS affects between 5% and 20% of all women of childbearing age, depending on the diagnostic criteria used. PCOS is one of the main causes of infertility. The disease is also associated with obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which are often conditions that last a lifetime.
Although PCOS affects at least one in seven women and costs more than $ 8 billion a year in health care in the United States alone, it is often misunderstood or overlooked by clinicians and policy makers. With a better understanding of how to effectively diagnose and treat this common disease, we may be able to reduce the economic burden as well as the impact on the quality of life for women. “
Carrie Riestenberg, MD, first author of the article, University of California, Los Angeles
The meta-analysis includes new estimates of the direct costs of treating long-term metabolic health problems related to PCOS, including diabetes and stroke, as well as costs related to pregnancy. The economic burden of this care is estimated at $ 4.3 billion per year as of 2020.
Researchers looked at 29 published studies and data on medical treatment costs to calculate the estimated cost of PCOS. The analysis builds on an earlier study, which found that diagnosing and treating common reproductive complications from PCOS cost around $ 3.7 billion per year as of 2020.
Researchers found that the most expensive aspects of PCOS care were treating long-term metabolic health issues, including stroke and type 2 diabetes, and reproductive health issues such as infertility. , abnormal uterine bleeding, menstrual dysfunction, and hirsutism, which is the growth of thick, dark hair on the areas where men typically grow hair. Pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension and preeclampsia accounted for about 5 percent of the estimated costs. The initial diagnostic process was less than 2% of the total cost.
“Our results suggest that diagnosing PCOS earlier could help reduce complications for women and lower the overall cost of care,” said Riestenberg. “Raising public awareness of the disease could help improve the quality of care. “
The analysis did not include the increased risks of endometrial, breast and ovarian cancer and mental health disorders that women with PCOS face. The researchers ruled out these conditions due to limited data availability.
Riestenberg, C., et al. (2021) Health care economic burden of polycystic ovary syndrome in the United States: pregnancy-related and long-term health consequences. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. doi.org/10.1210/clinem/dgab613.