PCOS & Mental Health
Many women all over the world struggle with various symptoms of PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) like obesity, excess facial hair, hairfall and sometimes even infertility. Mental health of women dealing with PCOS has recently garnered a lot of attention and for all the right reasons. After all- mental strength is the first checkpoint you need to reach to help deal with PCOS.
MENTAL HEALTH AND PCOS
A study supervised by Columbia University sheds light upon the potential PCOS complications that lead to the deterioration of mental health in a woman. It mainly says that for all nine mental health disorders measured, the women with PCOS had significantly higher levels of psychological distress than the general population. For more than half of those disorders, the women with PCOS had distress levels statistically similar to those of the female psychiatric patients.
HOW DOES PCOS CAUSE MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS?
It is still unclear as to what causes higher risk of mental health illness in women dealing with PCOS. It could be due to PCOS symptoms, hormonal irregularities or a combination of both.
Some women can feel frustrated and anxious about their ability to become pregnant (infertility), their weight, excess body and facial hair, or lack of control over their health and bodies. This can lead to increased anxiety levels and even depression.
A lot of research is still required in this area but multiple studies have been done to check the effect of insulin resistance in people with PCOS. One study found that greater insulin resistance increased the risk for depression, but other studies found no difference. One study showed that people with greater insulin resistance reported more anxiety symptoms, but more research is needed.
Brain chemistry is also very crucial when looking at causes of increased risk of depression and anxiety because the reduced number of neurotransmitters in some PCOS patients ( like serotonin which is associated with increased happiness)is directly associated with mental health.
All of this sounds very scary and at some level it is but with the right lifestyle changes & some motivation we can almost subside almost all of PCOS symptoms and their side effects- especially the psychiatric ones.
It is also imperative to understand that the journey for a life without PCOS starts with dealing with its side effects on your mental health. We all know that it is very necessary to remain in a good mental space to achieve sustainable and long term results.
LIFESTYLE CHANGES TO HELP MENTAL HEALTH DURING PCOS
There is no one bible for everyone to follow when it comes to lifestyle changes to improve your mental health. However before you (or not) consider seeking professional help, you can consider trying the following things first-
- Try to first determine what you’re dealing with- it can be anything, a case of low self esteem or an increased risk of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, and eating disorders and many more.
2. Once you acknowledge the problem try to find the root cause- is it due to weight gain, irregular periods, unwanted hair fall etc.
3. Generally it has been found that exercising daily and eating healthy, help in increasing serotonin levels in our brain leading to reduced risk of mental health issues and increased happiness levels. This is a general advice every girl dealing with PCOS should follow.
4. There are also other solutions to make the journey easier like supplements, for example mega-3 fatty acid from fish oil alone, or in combination with Vitamin D, may decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety in people with PCOS. You can also look into supplements available in the market that would help you deal with multiple PCOS symptoms including mental health (&Me PCOS Drink is one such solution).
5. There are no specific antidepressants or anti-anxiety pills for women with PCOS however therapies like acupuncture, meditation, therapy sessions, yoga poses dedicated to reducing PCOS can help in reducing the psychiatric repercussions of this disease.
The research about the connection between mental health & PCOS is still going on and there is no cure for it, the list mentioned above is certainly not exhaustive but will help women with PCOS in achieving a better mental space. Just focus on living a healthy and positive life.
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