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Mental Health and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

There is not enough evidence behind the exact connection between mental health disorders and PCOS, but there are some popular causes that are observed in most women with PCOS. We in Indian society hold our values and culture in the highest position and these values can sometimes be distressing. Women with PCOS often gain excess weight and experience male-pattern baldness and facial hair growth, and all of these go against society’s definition of a beautiful woman. This brings societal shame and stigma toward these women. Such stigma can lead to anxiety, stress and depression.

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A Brief Overview

PCOS is a complex hormonal disorder that affects every aspect of a woman’s health including her mental health. Studies have shown that women with PCOS are 3 times more likely to get diagnosed with depression and anxiety than others. Some other mental health disorders associated with PCOS are obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder and eating disorders.

What Is PCOS?

Many women who are in their reproductive years suffer from a hormonal disorder called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Those who have PCOS, may not have periods very often or may have periods that last many days. They may also have excess production of testosterone in their body. In certain cases, small cysts grow along the outer edge of the ovary. PCOS also may lead to some serious health conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even ovarian cancer.

Common Signs and Symptoms

  • Irregular periods: Women with PCOS can either have very few menstrual cycles or have periods that go on for days longer than normal.
  • Too much androgen: Women with PCOS have high quantities of androgens like testosterone which results in excess facial and body hair, male-pattern baldness and acne.
  • Polycystic ovaries: Many follicles containing immature eggs may develop around the edge of their ovary. This can hamper the normal cycle of ovulation.

Common Mental and Emotional Challenges Women With PCOS Experience

Various research has shown hormonal imbalances in women with PCOS increase the risk for anxiety and depression. PCOS also causes insulin resistance, resulting in higher levels of insulin in the bloodstream and that eventually leads to depression. Also, higher levels of androgens like DHEA in the body of women with PCOS increase the risk of depression and anxiety.

PCOS also lowers the level of certain neurotransmitters (chemicals that send signals throughout the brain and nervous system). Neurotransmitters like serotonin help in keeping you away from depression and anxiety. Body image issues, delays in treatment, fragmented healthcare and societal taboos can all contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression.

Mental Health Conditions Associated With PCOS


Many factors can lead women with PCOS to experience depression. The leading cause is insulin resistance, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is various research that supports the idea that insulin resistance can impair physiological mechanisms that have an association with learning and reward, which could contribute to depressive symptoms. Depression can also lead to inflammation in your body. Obesity, hair loss and excess facial hair growth caused by PCOS can also give women body image issues and make them feel secluded from society, eventually leading to depression or other mental health disorders.


It is not a surprise that having PCOS is very stressful. Stress levels rise when the cortisol levels in your body go down, and stress can further lead to anxiety and depression. The only solution to this is to raise the cortisol levels in your body by following a healthy diet, proper exercise routine and meditation. Elevated cortisol levels can also help regulate metabolism, immune function and the inflammatory response. Increased inflammation activity of the immune system seems to contribute to depression. Infertility caused by PCOS and the social stigma that comes with it is also a major reason behind stress in women with PCOS.

Treatment Options

  • To reduce stress you can include deep breathing, yoga, meditation, stretching or journaling in your daily routine. You can do one or more of the mentioned activities daily and see the difference within a few months.
  • Sleep is essential for improving your mental health condition. Biologically women with PCOS need more sleep than others to tackle the constant hormonal imbalances. At least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep is important, for this, you need to avoid caffeinated drinks, reduce screen time and have a fixed bedtime.
  • Eating a low-carb diet helps keep your body away from inflammation and stress.
  • Maintaining a healthy BMI to avoid body image issues by following a proper diet and exercising.
  • Take certain medications — such as insulin-sensitizing medications — to treat insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
  • Take birth control pills to balance your hormones.
  • Go for counselling or therapy sessions
  • Only go for antidepressants if your mental health counsellor prescribes them to you.

Ayurveda and Natural Remedies for Managing Your Mental Health

Spiritual Therapy (Daiva — vyapashraya Chikitsa)

According to Ayurveda, every individual is a part of the supreme conscience and the role of spirituality has been explained in detail in various contexts. And to maintain a healthy mental state you need to balance your spiritual energy. You can do that with the logical and proportionate use of chants, medicine or Aushadhi, gems, auspicious offerings, gifts to deserving people, lifestyle routines, prayers and yoga.

Satvavajaya Chikitsa:

The term Satvavajaya Chikitsa means controlling the mind. Acharya Charaka defines this treatment plan as a process of withdrawal of the mind from materialistic things. Charaka also explains the utility of replacing negative emotions with that positive emotion that is beneficial to the person’s psyche.

Yuktivyapashraya Chikitsa:

This treatment involves a scientific combination of food or ahara and lifestyle habits or vihara. Those seeking help for their mental health need to follow a proper dietary regimen, follow the rules of Sadvrita and use Medhya Rasayana (medicines that boost the psyche) and other rayurvedic medicines to control the imbalanced mind.

Ayurvedic Medicines

  • Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri)
  • Sankhapushpi (Convolvulus pluricalis)
  • Yastimadhu (Glycyrrhyza glabra)
  • Jyotishmati (Celastrus paniculatus)
  • Kushmanda (Benincasa hispida)
  • Vacha (Acorus calamus)
  • Rasona (Allium sativum)
  • Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)


Your daily routine should include strict adherence to moral codes, self-discipline, correct seating and seeping and walking postures, breathing practices like pranayama, concentration-improving activities like meditation and a proper sleep cycle.

Talk to a Professional with Veera

Veera Health’s PCOS reversal program also allows you to add mental health counselling as an additional service and we have one of the best mental health experts in the industry to assist you with your issues.

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Don’t let PCOS get the better of you! Take Veera’s online assessment to help understand your symptoms and get undivided expert assistance to manage and reverse your symptoms.