Most of the time when speaking about PCOS you are hearing talk about the physical aspects of PCOS but, you cannot ignore the mental and emotional side of having this condition.
Women with PCOS are about 3 times more likely to experience depression and anxiety than women without PCOS. Approximately 34% of women with PCOS have depression compared to 7% of women in the general population and around 45% have anxiety, compared to only 18% of the general population.
The exact link between PCOS and poor mental well-being is still unclear but, there are currently two trains of thought as to why PCOS triggers such alarming mental health numbers.
1️. PCOS is physically affecting your brain chemistry:It's incredible how connected your entire body is. We know that hormone levels can directly impact neurotransmitter (brain chemical) levels.
The brain chemicals are responsible for the regulation of motivation, concentration, learning, memory, happiness, and mood.
A study from the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden found high testosterone levels had a significant effect on a brain region called the amygdala, involved in the regulation of emotion and behavior.
2️. Having PCOS takes an emotional toll on your mental health:The second train of thought is that having a condition like PCOS can take a huge emotional toll on the woman who has it. Symptoms of PCOS such as fertility issues, unwanted hair growth, hair loss, acne, weight gain etc. can have an incredibly draining toll.
These symptoms can hit you at the heart of who you are, they can take away all of your confidence, self-belief, self-esteem, and hope for a bright future.
In reality, poor mental health in women with PCOS is likely going to be from a combination of the two factors. It's undeniable the physical connection between hormonal imbalances, physical health, and mental health.
It's also 100% understandable how living with a condition that can affect you so deeply like PCOS, combined with a lack of support by your medical expert, friends or family can lead to poor mental health.
Therefore, combining a strategy to help balance your hormones which also helps you to start taking control of your PCOS and thus, giving you hope for your future will be the most effective plan to improve your PCOS and mental well-being.
In the last few years, society has started realising that mental health is just as important as physical health. For women with PCOS, I think this is especially true.
Never give up x