Over the past few months, I have been noticing excessive hair growth on my face. Initially, I thought it to be some hormonal imbalance. The facial hair wasn’t just it. Gradually I started developing anxiety and stress. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome(PCOS). It not only affected my physical health but also worsened my mental health. A little stress, in the beginning, escalated to frequent anxiety attacks and I plunged into depression. It was a dual joust one to recover my physical health and another for my mental health says, 28 years Niti.
Studies suggest that around 4-20 percent of women of reproductive age suffer from PCOS, which makes it the most common health disorder among women. It may occur right after the first periods at the age of 11-12 or in the late 30s or beyond.
What is PCOS?
PCOS is an endocrine disorder that affects the function of the ovaries. The hormones go out of whack as the ovaries produce excess androgen. This develops fluid-filled sacs around ovaries called cysts. The cyst contains immature eggs called follicles. The follicles fail to regularly release eggs
The symptoms of PCOS are less visible. Symptoms of PCOS range from irregular periods,skin darkness and acne, male pattern baldness, weight gain and infertility, etc. Some women may suffer from one of these symptoms or might develop all of them together.
Irregular Periods: Irregular periods or the absence of periods during the reproductive age is the most common and visible symptom of PCOS as the follicles fail to release the eggs regularly.
Another condition is heavy or prolonged periods, a situation in which the periods last for more days and are normal along with heavy bleeding.
Excess androgen: The excess of androgen hormone results in acne, facial and body hair sometimes this may even escalate to male-pattern baldness too.
Excess Hair Growth: You may notice excess facial hair growth more than usual. This commonly happens due to excess androgen hormones. Besides this some women may face loss of hair in clumps and patches, a condition called Alopecia Areata.
Effects on mental health
The drastic physical changes in the body can push the person into anxiety and depression. These changes heavily affect the mental state of a person’s mind. The unpreparedness for all the symptoms and the inability to locate the results of the cause in mental health issues.
Studies suggest anywhere between 27-50 percent of women suffer from depression and anxiety while battling PCOS as compared to 19 percent of women without PCOS.
There is no absolute reason for stress and anxiety during PCOS but here are some of the common reasons that affect one’s mental health
Insulin resistance: During PCOS a woman’s body can make insulin but fails to use it effectively. The body refuses to take in glucose and this elevates the level of blood sugar resulting in diabetes. This also changes the hormonal composition – resulting in stress, anxiety, and depression.
Inflammation: The cortisol levels increase in the body during PCOS. The high cortisol levels increase inflammation throughout the body causing stress and anxiety.
Weight gain: Generally women are conscious of their weight. Thanks to the fake beauty standards and changing beauty trends. The inability to maintain a perfect body type pushes one into stress and sometimes even causes depression.
How to deal with the mental health issues in PCOS?
The mental health issues in PCOS can be resolved using similar precautions You just need to talk it all out honestly about the state of your mental health to your doctor. If PCOS is the main cause behind your mental health issues then your doctor may start by treating the primary causes first such as obesity, facial hair, hormonal acne, etc. Here are a few ways to address the issue. There are various options to address the issue few of them are listed below.
Talk Therapy: Talk therapy is the most effective treatment. This allows the person to communicate freely about the state of their mental health to the council. Talk therapy also allows them to locate the particular reasons affecting them.
Joining Support Groups: Combating an issue collectively makes it easier to solve the problem. One must prefer joining a similar group of people dealing with a similar problem. This will help provide a familiar environment and encourage you to take steps in a positive direction.
Antidepressants: At times when the matters become severe. Antidepressants could be the final resort to deal with mental health issues. It is advised to take antidepressants only at the doctor’s discretion otherwise it may prove to be harmful.
Mental health issues are common with PCOS. It can be treated with proper diagnosis and treatment. Once you start working on the underlying issues the mental health issues mitigates to a great extent. All you need is a positive approach and focused efforts.
To read more such articles, Click Here