Depression, stress and anxiety with PCOS is a common complaint, but is often overlooked and therefore left untreated. Research shows that 35% of women with PCOS suffer from high levels of stress and 14% from extreme high levels of stress (Zangeneh et al 2012). It has also been documented that the longer it takes to receive a diagnosis of PCOS, the more likely women are to be depressed or anxious.
Depression, stress and anxiety with PCOS can all impact on your quality of life in many differing ways:
- Physically – by disrupting eating and sleeping patterns
- Psychologically – by reducing motivation andincreasing feelings of worthlessness
- Socially – by affecting your relationships and your desire to socialise
Research shows experiencing the symptoms of PCOS, including excess hair growth and being overweight, can negatively affect mood, self–esteem and body image.
Suffering from depression, stress or anxiety with PCOS can make it difficult to feel motivated to look after yourself, follow a healthy lifestyle and make the best decisions about your health. This creates a vicious circle, as without doubt the key to controlling PCOS is to be motivated to make the right lifestyle choices.
Reaction to a new diagnosis of PCOS
Being diagnosed with PCOS can generate a range of feelings and emotions, and the degree to which they are experienced may differ depending on where you are in your lifespan. Many young women don’t fully appreciate the impact of their diagnosis and may only experience some of the emotions detailed below once they are struggling to conceive for example. You may have or will experience some of the following, very normal, emotions
Body image & PCOS
The physical symptoms of PCOS can lead to low self esteem about how you look. Therefore it is important to seek treatment for things like acne, excess body weight and excess hair growth if these are of concern to you and affect how you think about your body.
Your doctor will be able to advise you on the treatments that are available to you. The most frequently prescribed treatment for PCOS is Metformin. This treats insulin resistence and weight gain. Insoitol supplements also help to rebalance insulin levels and are shown to reduce the severity of acne, excess body hair, thinking of hair on the head and weight gain. Inositol can also help in promoting mood and good sleep.
Seeking help & support
Every woman is individual and therefore is likely to require different information and will have differing emotional and physical needs as time progresses.
Some women will experience depression, stress and anxiety with PCOS; but other women may become more determined and empowered to take back control and seek out as much knowledge on their diagnosis and support as possible.
Speaking with your doctor is the best place to start and if you are experiencing symptoms of depression, stress or anxiety with PCOS then your doctor will be able to refer you for specialist help. You may also like to consider fertility coaching or working with me to take back control of your PCOS in one of my PCOS Support packages.
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