Go With The Flow

PCOS and Depression: How to Manage Your Emotions?

Let’s first figure out what even is PCOS? Why is everyone talking about it these days? Is it really as bad as some people claim it to be?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that directly affects a woman's hormone levels. Your reproductive system starts producing an excess of androgen or the male hormone. Things can go downhill really quickly for you if your hormones are out of balance. Researchers aren’t exactly sure what causes a woman to have PCOS.

Yeah, we’re thinking exactly what you’re thinking: the lack of funding required to study the female anatomy is criminal.

Although symptoms can look different for everyone, here are a few common ones:

  • Ovaries with large cysts

  • Irregular, extremely heavy or missed periods

  • Body hair in unusual places

  • Infertility or difficulty in conceiving

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  • Male pattern baldness, etc.

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Can PCOS cause depression?

Is depression a symptom of PCOS ? There are no conclusive studies to back up this claim. But it has long been established that PCOS and mental health issues go hand in hand.

Women who are suffering from PCOS are more likely to experience mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and PCOS mood swings.

Around 50 percent of women who have PCOS report struggling with depression, whereas only 19 percent of women without PCOS say so.

Why is PCOS depression so common?

We haven’t figured out yet why PCOS and depression are linked. A few theories suggest:

Insulin resistance

Approximately 70% of women who suffer from PCOS have to deal with high blood sugar levels. Their bodies are insulin-resistant, meaning glucose is not processed the way it should.

In various studies, insulin resistance has been linked to depression.


PCOS brings with it a lot of physical insecurities and stress over them. Excess body hair or a balding head could destroy a teenager’s self-esteem like nothing else. This stress often leads to anxiety and depression.


More women with PCOS are obese than those who do not suffer from it. Obesity too, has been time again linked to stress and depression, especially in younger women.

The Most Common Symptoms of PCOS Anxiety and Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Apathy

  • Hopelessness

  • Loss of pleasure in activities

  • Mood swings, irritability or sadness

  • Insomnia and suicidal thoughts and tendencies

How is depression treated if you have PCOS?

PCOS depression treatment most commonly includes lifestyle changes. This could mean dropping a few extra kilos on the scale, eating healthily, exercising, etc.

Your doctor will try and address the root cause of the problem if you are experiencing PCOS side effects on mental health.

  • For insulin resistance, you might be advised to consume a low-carb diet.

  • Your doctor might ask you to lose some weight if you’re obese.

  • If you’re experiencing an excess production of the male hormone, androgens; birth control pills might help.

  • Antidepressants are helpful in managing emotions. Never take these without proper prescription from a doctor as they can cause weight gain and even affect your blood glucose level.

Try counseling or therapy to help treat your depression. Joining support groups can be of great help because you get to talk about your struggles with people who are dealing with the same problems.

Are there risks for having PCOS and depression?

People with depression often have suicidal thoughts. If you are one of them, talk to others and seek treatment.

Women with PCOS get caught up in a cycle of symptoms. PCOS can lead to weight gain, which in turn leads to PCOS. PCOS itself worsens your mental health.

You can find hotline numbers online for people who are going through mental health issues. These hotlines are completely free of cost and often have staff to support you 24/7.

When to Seek Help

As soon as you sense something is wrong or go through emotional upheavals, go to your doctor. Talk to them about the right treatment for you. They can prescribe medications and suggest lifestyle changes to help you cope better and even guide you to the right person for seeking therapy.


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