PCOS and mental health: Depression and anxiety

Women with PCOS have increased anxiety, depression, and negative body image compared with women without PCOS. In women with or without PCOS, body image and self-worth are predictors of both anxiety and depression.

Posted on March 16, 2022

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Women with PCOS have increased anxiety, depression, and negative body image compared with women without PCOS. In women with or without PCOS, body image and self-worth are predictors of both anxiety and depression. There is an indispensable relationship between depression and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).As much as 40 percent of women with PCOS experience depressive symptoms. One study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology showed that suicide rates were seven times higher among women with PCOS/PCOD than those without the syndrome. Beyond the hormonal influences of PCOS that can contribute to depression, the difficulties and frustrations of managing the symptoms of PCOS can’t be overlooked. Struggles with infertility, weight gain, and dermatological symptoms (acne, hair loss, excess hair growth) can all take a significant toll on the emotional health of women with PCOS. The increased risk for anxiety and depression among people with PCOS. It could be due to PCOS symptoms or hormonal differences associated with the disorder, or to a combination of factors that is still unknown.

PCOS depression and anxiety

Depression and anxiety are common in women with PCOS. Over 30% of women have polycystic ovarian syndrome depression compared to 7% in the general population, and around 45% have anxiety, compared to only 18% of the general population. Thus, the incidence of these disorders is roughly 3-5 times higher than the general average. It is seen that the longer it takes to diagnose PCOS, the higher the patient isdepressed or anxious. PCOS depression and anxiety can impact a woman with PCOS and her quality of life in several ways:

In a nutshell, if you are suffering from PCOS and feel mentally down, it is not to be taken casually. You may be suffering from depression, which is associated with PCOS and needs immediate help from your doctor and well-wishers.

Types of Polycystic ovarian syndrome depression

Major Depressive Disorder

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a debilitating disease that is characterised by depressed mood, diminished interests, impaired cognitive function, and vegetative symptoms, such as disturbed sleep or appetite. During your life, people typically have multiple episodes. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day, and may include:

Bipolar Depression

Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). There are several types of bipolar and related disorders.

  • Bipolar I disorder. You’ve had at least one manic episode that may be preceded or followed by hypomanic or major depressive episodes. In some cases, mania may trigger a break from reality (psychosis).
  • Bipolar II disorder. You’ve had at least one major depressive episode and at least one hypomanic episode, but you’ve never had a manic episode.
  • Cyclothymic disorder. You’ve had at least two years — or one year in children and teenagers — of many periods of hypomania symptoms and periods of depressive symptoms (though less severe than major depression).
  • Other types. These include, for example, bipolar and related disorders induced by certain drugs or alcohol or due to a medical condition, such as Cushing’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or stroke.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can also affect women with PCOS.SAD is a seasonal form of depression that occurs during the same time frame each year Seasonal affective disorder is a strain of depression that occurs during winter or even monsoons with a decrease in sunlight and causes periodic depression. Typical symptoms of SAD are a should aim for a way of eating that has a balance of protein, high-fiber carbohydrates, and some fat.

Persistent depressive disorder(dysthymia)

Persistent depressive disorder, also called dysthymia (dis-THIE-me-uh), is a continuous long-term (chronic) form of depression. You may lose interest in normal daily activities, feel hopeless, lack productivity, and have low self-esteem and an overall feeling of inadequacy. These feelings last for years and may significantly interfere with your relationships, school, work, and daily activities.

What is the treatment for depression if you have PCOS?

Depression can be managed in many ways, ranging from therapy and medications to complementary and alternative medicine. We have already seen earlier how PCOS can affect overall health and mental wellbeing, and its associations with anxiety and depression, with magnitude, depending upon how long you have been suffering from this illness. You may lose confidence, senseof empowerment, or prolonged depression characterised by low mood, or overly anxiety about even the most trivial situation.

Cognitive behavioural therapy:

A cognitive-behavioural therapist’s main role is to help people identify their thoughts and behaviours, specifically regarding their relationships, surroundings, and life, so that they can influence those thoughts and behaviours for the better and it helps to identify and change negative thinking patterns and teaches you coping strategies. This is the most common type of therapy.

Interpersonal therapy:

Interpersonal therapy, or IPT, is a short-term, focused treatment for depression. Studies have shown that IPT, which addresses interpersonal issues, may be at least as effective as short-term treatment with antidepressants for mild to moderate forms of clinical depression. focuses on improving problems in personal relationships.

Psychodynamic therapy:

Psychodynamic therapy focuses on the psychological roots of emotional suffering. Its hallmarks are self-reflection and self-examination, and the use of the relationship between therapist and patient as a window into problematic relationship patterns in the patient’s life. It is based on recognizing and understanding negative patterns of behaviour that come from past experiences and working to resolve them.

Support group:

Support Groups may be helpful as being surrounded by women who share similar struggles can be comforting and beneficial for you. If it’s led by a trained mental health professional, a support group may offer life-changing skills and strategies to cope with PCOS and depression.

Complementary and alternative therapies :-

Lifestyle changes

The effect of diet and exercise on symptoms of depression and anxiety in people with PCOS has been researched. Low-calorie diets in combination with exercise do not appear to improve symptoms of anxiety, and may only improve depression short-term

There may be an improvement in depression and anxiety among people with PCOS who receive acupuncture and in people who practice mindfulness 30 minutes a day yoga practice that includes poses, guided relaxation, breathing exercises, and meditation may also improve symptoms of anxiety in people with PCOS


Women with PCOS on average tend to experience mildly elevated anxiety and depression, significantly more than women without PCOS. Mental health struggles are a common and undertreated symptom of PCOS. Women with PCOS have five times the rate of anxiety and ten times the rate of depression as non-PCOS women. And even more alarmingly, women with PCOS are seven times more likely to commit suicide than non-PCOS women. So it is high time we focus the spotlight on the issue of Mental Wellness in PCOS.

How can CysterCare’s Mental Health Providers help you with fighting PCOS?

When diagnosed with PCOS, you should start pursuing a dedicated mental wellness program and let your feelings and mental struggles out by visiting a mental wellness coach during your treatment. PCOS is a mentally taxing condition and we can help you with it. Our wonderful team of psychologists can help you improve your mental health significantly. With our awareness programs and workshops, you’ll get to meet women who have gone through the same difficulties posed by PCOS and you will get a chance to be understood and connect with the women in those peer circles. And not to forget, that our mental health programs don’t cut your pockets deep but are designed to cut out your mental health problems from your beautiful life! So don’t think too much, and sign up for our mental health programs, NOW.


Content on CysterCare is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice, or as a substitute for medical advice given by a medically authorised healthcare provider or adoctor.


Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, women with PCOS are at a higher risk of experiencing depression and anxiety compared to women without PCOS.

Common mental health challenges for women with PCOS include depression, anxiety, negative body image, and low self-esteem.

Depression is more prevalent among women with PCOS, with up to 40% experiencing depressive symptoms, compared to 7% in the general population.

Yes, struggles with PCOS symptoms such as infertility, weight gain, and dermatological issues can impact emotional health and contribute to depression and anxiety.

 Treatment options may include cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, support groups, lifestyle changes (diet and exercise), and complementary therapies like yoga and acupuncture. Consult a healthcare professional for personalized recommendations.

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PCOS and mental health: Depression and anxiety

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