The Connection Between PCOS and Depression

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) affects millions of women worldwide and is a hormonal disorder that can cause a wide range of symptoms. Unfortunately, many women with PCOS also struggle with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

Posted on May 5, 2023

Reviewed by

Dr Ankita S


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) affects millions of women worldwide and is a hormonal disorder that can cause a wide range of symptoms. Unfortunately, many women with PCOS also struggle with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

What exactly is the link between polycstic ovary syndrome and depression

 In this blog, we hope to provide a comprehensive understanding of how PCOS and depression are linked. Studies have indicated that there is a growing body of evidence linking psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders to PCOS. Women with PCOS, who exhibit clinical signs of hirsutism, high androgen levels, irregular menstrual cycles, and polycystic ovaries, are more likely to experience these psychological conditions than their normally ovulating and nonhyperandrogenic counterparts. In fact, the incidence of depression in women with PCOS is higher than that of the general population, and this can significantly affect their quality of life. Additionally, low self-esteem is often observed in both depression and PCOS patients, which may be attributed to associated factors.

Why does PCOS cause depression and anxiety?

The connection between PCOS and depression revolves around several theories supported by research that could help clarify how PCOS can elevate the likelihood of developing depression. These theories include:

  • Stress– A considerable number of individuals diagnosed with PCOS face stress, which, is a significant risk factor for depression. Anxiety and depression may be related to PCOS, and stress could potentially play a vital role in this connection. When stress levels increase, they can cause a surge in cortisol levels, which may be linked to severe major depressive disorder. Cortisol has a role in regulating metabolism, immune function, and the inflammatory response, and the immune system’s increased inflammatory activity could be a contributing factor to depression. Stress can also trigger the production of cytokines, which can lead to an increase in inflammation in the body.


  • Obstructive sleep APNEA– Individuals with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) often encounter anxiety and depression, according to prevalent research. Further studies suggest that OSA and insomnia may heighten the likelihood of experiencing depression. Moreover, inadequate sleep can have an adverse effect on an individual’s ability to regulate emotions, leading to symptoms of depression.


  • Infertility– Individuals who face infertility or experience difficulty conceiving frequently describe increased levels of anxiety and depression. In cases of PCOS-related infertility, the irregular release of hormones may play a role in the onset of depression. Infertility can also impact a person’s identity and result in feelings of isolation, failure, and questions regarding self-worth, which may contribute to the development of depression.
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To Treat Depression in PCOS patients?

Identifying the root cause of the symptoms can aid in determining the appropriate therapy and treatment, leading to optimal outcomes for individuals with PCOS.

  • In cases where depression is linked to insulin resistance, obesity, or type 2 diabetes, lifestyle changes can be beneficial for managing these conditions. Examples include adopting a low-carbohydrate diet, achieving or maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, and taking insulin-sensitizing medications.
  • Additionally, taking birth control pills may be useful for those experiencing depression caused by hormonal imbalances, as these medications can regulate menstruation cycles and alleviate PCOS symptoms. Individuals with PCOS who experience high levels of stress may also benefit from stress-management techniques like relaxation exercises or yoga to alleviate depressive symptoms.
  • For those experiencing depression related to infertility, treatments such as certain medications or surgery may increase their chances of conceiving.
  • Lastly, using a continuous positive airway pressure machine may help reduce both OSA and depressive symptoms.

You are not alone

Although dealing with depression can be isolating and overwhelming, it’s important to keep in mind that you are not the only one going through this. Getting help from a variety of sources can significantly improve depression management and recovery.

  • First and foremost, it’s critical to understand that qualified assistance is accessible. Therapists and psychiatrists, for example, are educated to assist people in managing and overcoming depression. They can offer assistance in coping with symptoms, addressing underlying problems, and creating long-term treatment plans by offering tools, support, and direction. One of the most important steps in conquering depression is to seek the assistance of a mental health expert.
  • In addition to seeking professional assistance, family and friend support can be beneficial. Although it may be challenging, having a supportive network can give one a sense of comfort and validation when discussing depression with loved ones.  Finally, there are a number of online resources that can provide support and direction. There are also numerous websites that offer virtual therapy sessions with qualified mental health doctors.


  •  Although dealing with depression can be difficult, it’s important to keep in mind that support and assistance are available.  People can control and get over depression with the aid of experts, close ones, physical self-care, and online tools. Keep in mind that you are not fighting depression by yourself.

We are here to help

The team of psychologists at CysterCare is here to assist you in coping with the psychological toll that PCOS can have on your life. For women to connect with others going through comparable circumstances, we offer safe spaces through our mental health programmes, which include awareness campaigns and workshops. Our mission is to assist you in raising your quality of life and mental wellness without breaking the pocketbook. Enrol in one of our mental health programmes right away to start living a happier, healthier life.


Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, studies show that women with PCOS are more likely to experience depression and other mental health issues compared to those without PCOS.

Stress is a significant risk factor for depression in individuals with PCOS. Increased stress levels can lead to hormonal imbalances and inflammation, potentially triggering depressive symptoms.

Yes, infertility related to PCOS can impact a person's emotional well-being and contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression.

Treatment options for depression in PCOS patients may include lifestyle changes, hormonal therapies, stress-management techniques, and treatments for infertility-related depression.

Yes, qualified assistance from therapists and psychiatrists can be beneficial for managing and overcoming depression in individuals with PCOS. Additionally, family and friend support, along with online resources, can provide valuable support and guidance.

Reviewed by

Dr Ankita S


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The Connection Between PCOS and Depression

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