Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Mary Catherine Fontenot


The prevalence of PCOS is increasing and due to the associated health complications, it is important to understand how higher-risk populations (women of color) cope with said condition. Analyzing current symptom management and treatment could help develop more practical resources and treatment strategies to help improve healthcare expectations and quality of life.

Ten women aged 22-38 with PCOS participated in comprehensive individual interviews with goal-oriented, semi-structured questions. A 27-question survey was also completed. Sampling was continued until data saturation was reached. The data was analyzed using the grounded theory technique which codes emergent themes with keywords and phrases which ultimately are used as the basis of the development of a new theory.

The data analysis aided in finding the main themes of the research (1) Age of diagnosis (2) Symptoms (3) Body Fat Discrimination (4) Dismissiveness/Symptoms Triage (5) Poor Guidance (6) Life Impact (7) Mental Health (8) Support Symptoms (9) Religion/Spirituality (10) Cultural Comparisons and Differences.

In this study, the women with PCOS showed similarities with symptoms, symptom management, and experiences with healthcare providers regardless of race. However, there was an expression from several participants that racial discrimination could play a role in receiving inadequate care. Recognizing potential biases with race, body size, and female reproductive health and staying current in PCOS symptom management and available resources could help provide more inclusivity, guidance, and support leading to a better quality of life and better healthcare experiences for women with PCOS.