What it feels like being depressed is often unexplainable. One does not know why they are feeling so low. Depression goes beyond just feeling sad and may be projected in more than just a few ways.
In a nutshell, feeling low or down for prolonged periods of time with no evident cause, especially if you have PCOS should not be sidelined. There is a high possibility of it being diagnosed as depression and will require intervention from the doctor, mental health specialist, well-wisher, or caregiver.
How Depression and Anxiety Are Related to PCOS
For women with PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome suffering from certain physical conditions like irregular menstrual periods, increased hair growth, and obesity are well established. However, over 30%-40% of women with PCOS also suffer from poor mental health, namely depression. But, believe it or not, many such cases of PCOS depression and PCOS anxiety amongst women go ignored, unnoticed, undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed. Like every other health condition, the sooner a symptom is picked up or a diagnosis is made, the stake of management or cure of the condition is higher.
Depression Symptoms in Women With Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Let’s go on to explore the various and most obvious symptoms of depression in women that show up during PCOS depression and how they affect the mental and emotional well-being of the patient.
- Physically, one may notice a change or a disruption in the usual eating and/or sleeping patterns
- Socially, it may affect relationships
- Psychologically, one may feel highly demotivated, unenthusiastic (even for activities that were previously enjoyed and looked forward to), worthless or sad, low, or unhappy for no apparent known reason
While prolonged weeks or months of sadness or lowered energy levels are the most obvious and most common signs of depression, others such as physical pain or mood swings also make the cut. Instead of being reluctant to acknowledge them as possible signs of depression, it’s best to take them seriously and begin treating the root cause of the problem. Depression can often lead to weight gain, binge eating, and no will to perform any structured physical activities – all of which can adversely affect the pre-existing condition of PCOS.
Here is a list of other common symptoms of PCOS, yet unrecognized signs of PCOS depression:
- Reduced tolerance to physical pain/ increased sensitivity to physical pain and recurring headaches, back aches, and neck aches
- Not having control over temper and the tendency to get angry or frustrated easily at the smallest inconveniences
- Feeling panicky or anxious often
- Having drastic mood swings – from overjoyed to sad or angry to mellow or excited to uninterested over short durations of time
- Find it difficult to focus and concentrate on tasks even for those that last short time periods
- Experiencing fatigue, tiredness, and exhaustion regardless of performing any physical activity
- Motivation is on an all-time low, with little to no will to do any activities, especially those that were previously enjoyed
- Ignoring one’s self-appearance and neglecting personal well-being like not cutting or combing nails and hair or wearing unironed clothes
- Feeling stressed without any known reason
- Fearing going out in public or having to interact with others or being in a social setting
- Feeling lonely and helpless regularly
- Having a poor appetite and possibly avoiding or skipping meals
- Disturbed sleep cycle with only a couple of hours of deep sleep or sleeping for longer durations without the will to wake up and still waking up tired
If you or someone you know has prolonged periods of feeling low, don’t hesitate from seeing an expert to get the professional help you need. Depression can be managed through multiple available methods, ranging from individual therapy, support groups, and allopathic medication to alternative and integrative medicine.
Medical Treatment For PCOS Depression
Often it is helpful to have someone to talk to about how you’re feeling especially on days when you feel low. And learning how to take care of your mental health, along with eating a balanced diet and including regular physical activity can help manage your overall PCOS condition.
Self-care and rest are important for managing your stress levels, your overall mental health, and avoiding burnout.
Here are some things you can do to improve your mental health:
- Listen to your body. When your body is asking for rest, take it easy and listen to it.
- Exercising helps. Start by walking for 20 – 30 minutes or any other activity that you enjoy doing
- Block some time in the day and spend time in the sunlight or in nature
- Sleep is important to manage stress and regulate hormones. Turn your phone off an hour before getting into bed, drink less caffeine closer to bedtime and maintain a regular sleep schedule.
- Participate in hobbies or other leisure activities that help you unwind
- Follow a healthy diet that is balanced, wholesome, and nutritious
It is important to realize that PCOS goes beyond just metabolic and hormonal health. It comes with its own bag of mental health disorders, one of them being depression. Know that you are not alone, what you’re feeling and going through is real, but with the right help and guidance, it is also very treatable.