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Home / PCOS – It’s not just physical, it affects mental health as well

PCOS Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a state of hormone imbalance that causes infertility, obesity and excessive facial hair in women. It can also lead to mental health issues like depression, anxiety and eating disorders. But they are frequently overlooked and left untreated.

PCOS is the most common endocrine dysfunction among women of child bearing age affecting 5 to 10% women and typically begins in adolescence. In adolescent girls and young women the psychological impacts can be significant.

As PCOS also increases risk of cardio vascular disorders and type II diabetes, it should be regarded as a serious metabolic disorder that carries crucial health risks.

PCOS presents in each women differently. A classic case of PCOD is a woman with-

  • Unexplained Weight gain
  • Irregular or absent periods
  • Facial hair growth
  • Thinning scalp hair
  • Dark pigmentation of skin on various parts
  • Skin problems like acne
  • Infertility issues
  • Slightly enlarged ovaries with many cysts
  • Other medical issues like glucose intolerance/ diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure


56.9% of women with PCOS have some psychiatric problems that affect quality of life. Women with PCOD have higher rates of depression ( nearly 34 % ) and anxiety ( nearly 45 %) than the women in general population. Symptoms of PCOD like excess hair growth, hair loss, acne, weight changes, and fertility problems can negatively affect mood, self confidence and body image. Menstrual irregularities and physical changes can lead to feminity, fertility and sexuality concerns.

Research shows mood changes occur due to insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, high testosterone levels, and menstrual irregularities. Insulin affects central serotonin levels, insulin resistance may be a common link between depression and PCOS.


After medical evaluation patients should first be started on PCOS treatment. If depressive symptoms have a common pathway – such as insulin resistance- PCOS treatment will improve the mood
symptoms as well. Anti depressants can be started. Other interventions that improve insulin levels and glycemic control – like dietary management, sleep habits, reducing alcohol, exercise- might have anti depressant effect.