Most urban young women are aware of the term PCOS or commonly known as PCOD. What do you mean by PCOS or Polycystic? Poly means many and cyst means fluid-filled structures developed on ovaries. PCOS is a condition in which women have high androgen levels (male hormones) due to which small cyst(s) develop on ovaries and result in irregular menstrual cycle and infertility. According to the PCOS Society of India (2019), one in five women i.e. 20% suffer from PCOS in India. PCOS is a lifelong disease that can be simply controlled by proper diet and lifestyle.
But today our question is not what is PCOS, their causes, symptoms, health implications and management ways?
Today, we focussed on how PCOS impacts the mental health of PCOS women?
Results showed that the overall prevalence of psychiatric morbidity was 50 per cent, and that of anxiety disorders was 38.6 per cent, and depressive disorders were 25.7 per cent, according to the study, “Anxiety, Depression and Quality of Life in Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome” (2018). In the majority of cases, both conditions were mild. Visible characteristics of PCOS such as hirsutism (excessive hair growth on chest, face or back), acne, and its possible consequences such as menstrual irregularity, infertility, and obesity can lead to emotional distress in women with PCOS.
Obesity is suspected to be a primary cause of low HRQoL (Health-related Quality of Life) and significantly contributes to negative psychological symptoms in PCOS-positive women. Hirsutism produces a significant psychological burden and social relationships are adversely affected.
As you can see in the above Figure-1, PCOS women feel low self-esteem due to poor image, emotional stress due to obesity, feeling unfeminine due to male pattern hair growth on the body, Feeling tense and lonely, start avoiding social situations, excessive worry and get irritated easily. All these things slowly affect their mental health and lead to poor quality of health physically, mentally, and socially.
It was found from the thesis done by myself titled “Awareness and Management of PCOS by Urban Young Women” in my post-graduation in 2021 that three fourth of the PCOS women experience 7 out of the 10 symptoms for both Anxiety and Depression. This needs to be further clinically accessed by the doctor. Apart from the physical health implications of PCOS, mental health is equally affected by women suffering from PCOS. The PCOS women need to be taken care of their mental health and should be properly managed.
What needs to be done to manage the symptoms of PCOS?
First, as the primary management strategy for PCOS, physical activity is recommended as it decreases insulin resistance, improves PCOS metabolic and reproductive characteristics, and improves body image for women with PCOS and improves mental health and quality of life.
Secondly, a good diet rich in protein and fibres should be taken. Carbohydrates have a high chance to increase the insulin level so, a low-carbohydrate diet is recommended. Also, include good fats in your diet like flax seeds.
If you are not able to control your mood swing and unable to manage mental health, approach a doctor for counselling and mind therapies that will help you.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle with a good diet and exercise lowers stress, improves metabolism and releases happy hormones in your body.
Don’t ignore your mental health and PCOS symptoms. Start managing it from today itself.
Let’s say Bye-Bye to PCOS and Hi to your happy soul!
Do you know PCOS women who are facing any type of mental health issues? if yes, what are they?
Tell us in the comment section.