In addition to dealing with their physical health, women who have PCOS must also deal with their mental health issues. According to experts, women with PCOS are three times more likely than women without it to experience mood problems like anxiety and sadness.
‘Although the exact mechanism of how PCOS affects mental health is still not completely understood, it is said that the physical manifestations of PCOS such as irregular periods, difficulty in conceiving, acne, weight gain, hair loss, excess facial or body hair, can cause body image issues,’ says Madhu Hisaria, Psychotherapist and Relationship Counsellor at Veera Health, an Online PCOS Clinic.
In a study released by the National Library of Medicine, PCOS is linked to a higher likelihood of being diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety. Therefore, it is important to encourage screenings so that early treatment can begin.
A healthy lifestyle is under constant strain, which causes guilt and annoyance. Even more challenging for women is the judgmental attitude of their partner/spouse, family, and society. According to Madhu Hisaria, many women spend years looking for the right diagnosis or therapy, which could develop worse due of a lack of enough resources or knowledge.
‘Many women with PCOS tend to overlook their symptoms or don’t get proper care to address mental health issues. Creating awareness in society at large around this is crucial, as one in 5 women in India suffer from PCOS, as per estimates,’ adds Madhu Hisaria, emphasising that mental health is as vital as physical health.
Women can benefit from counselling sessions too, depending on the severity of the condition and other factors like the coping ability of an individual and environmental triggers.
‘Apart from seeking professional help, following a healthy lifestyle and practising self-care techniques goes a long way in improving your overall quality of life. This includes eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, managing stress and sleeping well,’ says Madhu Hisaria.