PCOS is a common endocrine disorder affecting women of reproductive age, characterised by hormonal imbalances that can lead to various symptoms, including irregular periods and ovarian cysts. (1) Existing research has highlighted an association between the difficulties and psychological stress, women of colour face, when trying to cope with this condition, with an exacerbation of mental health difficulties arising trying to navigate life with the associated symptoms. (2)

Hadjiconstantinou et al. (3) reported a range of symptoms linked to PCOS, some which were specific to certain ethnic backgrounds. They also found some participants accepting their symptoms as something which is normal due to a delay in diagnosis and ultimately a failure of healthcare providers recognising the condition. Participants also reported an increase in psychological distress. This is consistent with the findings of Gayathri et al. (4), who conducted a systematic review, highlighting an increased risk of mental health disorders associated with PCOS, especially amongst Black and Asian ethnic minority groups.

Understanding the diagnostic journey is crucial for improving healthcare practices and ensuring timely and accurate diagnoses. Exploring symptom management advice is equally vital, as it can inform culturally sensitive interventions and support mechanisms, for south Asian and Afro-Caribbean women living with PCOS in the UK. By shedding light on the distinct challenges faced by these ethnic minority groups, this research aims to contribute to healthcare equity, enhance the quality of care, and empower individuals in managing their health effectively. Ultimately, the study aligns with broader goals of promoting inclusivity and addressing health disparities within diverse communities.

Researchers at the University of Nottingham are working on exploring the diagnostic journey and symptom management advice provided to women diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) in the UKs specifically from a south Asian and Afro-Caribbean background.

If you are of the ethnicities mentioned above, we’d be interested in learning more about your experiences living with PCOS.

Interviews should last 20-30mins depending on the information you wish to share. All successful interviewees will receive a £5 gift voucher.

If you’d like to register your interest, please email msxet12@nottingham.ac.uk

  • Escobar-Morreale HF. Polycystic ovary syndrome: definition, aetiology, diagnosis and treatment. Nature Reviews Endocrinology [Internet]. 2018 Mar 23;14(5):270–84. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1038/nrendo.2018.24
  • Şendur SN, Yildiz BO. Influence of ethnicity on different aspects of polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review. Reproductive Biomedicine Online [Internet]. 2021 Apr 1;42(4):799–818. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rbmo.2020.12.006
  • Hadjiconstantinou M, Mani H, Patel N, Levy M, Davies MJ, Khunti K, et al. Understanding and supporting women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a qualitative study in an ethnically diverse UK sample. Endocrine Connections [Internet]. 2017 Jul 1;6(5):323–30. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28515051/
  • Delanerolle G, Ayis S, Barzilova V, Phiri P, Zeng Y, Ranaweera S, et al. A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Mental Health among Black Asian Minority Ethnic populations. medRxiv (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory) [Internet]. 2022 Mar 7; Available from: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.03.05.22271948