Clients often tell me, ''but I also have PCOD, so is that related to my low mood"? The answer has been a question of debate among health professionals in the recent years. They do believe that PCOD definitely has a connection with mental health.

So what exactly is PCOD or PCOS?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common reproductive endocrine disorder, affecting about 5% of women. In Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), excessive amounts of androgens ("male" hormones such as testosterone) are produced by the ovaries. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common cause of infertility, menstrual irregularity, and hirsute (excessive hair growth), acne and excessive body weight.

Does PCOD affect Mental Health?

Research has revealed that depression and anxiety are common in women with PCOD, but are often overlooked and left untreated. Approximately 34% of women with PCOD/S have depression compared to 7% of women in the general population.  Around 45% of them suffer from anxiety compared to only 18% in the general population. The symptoms of PCOD including excessive body weight, acne, inability to conceive reduces motivation and increases feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem. Reduced emotional well being can make it difficult to look after oneself, follow a healthy lifestyle and make the best decisions about your health. Research by Elizabeth Hollinrake, Alison Abreu discovered that women with PCOS are at an increased risk of suffering from depressive disorders than those who do not. The health complications arising from PCOS cause a dysfunction in one's mental well being. Research at Monash University, Australia also confirmed the correlation between PCOD and depression.

How can a mental health professional be of help here?

It is difficult to accept a condition like PCOD. Patients go through feelings of shock, disbelief, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, major mood swings etc. Some do not get the link between these symptoms arising as a result of PCOD. A mental health professional can

  • Help identify and accept the problem.
  • Can help in dealing with emotions like shock, disbelief.
  • Psychoeducation of the family members in dealing with the PCOS and with the person suffering from PCOS.
  • Rebuild confidence and self-esteem.
  • Help in building a routine that can help combat the problem. 
  • Help in handling and dealing with the mood swings. 

It is not always easy to handle a problem on your own. In such cases, it always helps to seek professional help.