Most women that have PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) aren’t even aware of it. Some of the symptoms of PCOS include irregular periods, acne, weight gain, and excess body hair. And of course, these symptoms can affect your life significantly.
Luckily, you can manage these symptoms by taking natural supplements for PCOS after consulting with your doctor, but some may still deal with mental challenges. Since PCOS is linked to hormonal changes and your hormones and emotions are linked, many women may experience anxiety and depression.
The link between PCOS and mental health
Women may never know that they have PCOS until they try to conceive and are unsuccessful. That’s when they consult with their healthcare provider and are diagnosed with PCOS.
Since PCOS makes it hard for you to get pregnant and for someone who really wants to start a family, it can be a huge deal for them. It can be a starting point for when they start experiencing more mental health issues.
However, even before diagnosis, PCOS symptoms are enough to affect your physical appearance and lower your self-esteem, especially as a teenager or younger woman.
Symptoms like obesity, thinning hair, acne, excess body hair, and not having regular periods can all lead to stress. Stress can further lead to anxiety and depression.
Moreover, most women with PCOS are insulin resistant, which can lead to increased blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance may also be linked with prolonged stress and depression since the way the body makes specific hormones changes.
PCOS can also lead to inflammation in your body, and over time it can increase stress hormones, cortisol, which can lead to stress and depression. Not to mention, increased cortisol levels also elevate insulin resistance risk, which can also cause depression, as we just discussed.
What mental health disorders can you face with PCOS?
Although depression and anxiety are common mental health disorders faced by women with PCOS, as you have to deal with mood swings, self-esteem issues, and other health issues, PCOS may also lead them to experience other mental health issues. For instance, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, bulimia, and other eating disorders.
How to treat PCOS?
Remember that PCOS can’t be fully cured, but you can incorporate changes in your diet and lifestyle to manage the symptoms of PCOS more effectively.
Since your mental health issues may be linked with the symptoms of PCOS, it’s essential to target them. Of course, you must consult with your healthcare provider, too, as they will diagnose PCOS with ultrasound and blood work.
They will curate a proper PCOS management plan for you. As your symptoms start getting better, so should your mental health. If you’re still struggling with mental health, remember that you can and should always take professional mental health.
In general, you can manage the symptoms of PCOS by exercising and eating a healthy diet to help you overcome weight challenges. For acne, your doctor may prescribe a topical or oral acne medication. Moreover, for period-related problems, you may be given birth control pills.
Your healthcare provider will curate a management plan based on your family planning goals and other preferences or issues. Hence, it’s essential to talk to them and deal with your PCOS-related problems effectively.
Ellen Diamond, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle