It’s Not in Your Head
I was both surprised and saddened to learn that research studies have shown that women with PCOS are four times more likely to suffer from symptoms of depression than other women. Of these women, 1/3 of them meet the criteria for major depression, yet the symptoms that are most often noted in medical brochures are focused on menstrual irregularities and excess weight.
One would think that the hormonal irregularities which contribute to symptoms such as acne, hirsutism, and struggles with weight and possibly infertility, would be more than enough to contribute to feelings of sadness and perhaps even hopelessness. However, some scientists feel that the biochemical changes that occur are connected with “inflammation” and it is this scenario that contributes to depression.
Not every woman who has PCOS has symptoms of depression but many do. Therefore if you experience symptoms such as sadness, the blues, low self-esteem, etc., it’s not in your head. On the contrary, your symptoms are very real and likely caused by a chemical imbalance, whether it is hormonal or not.
So you get that PCOS is linked to depression, now what? Now it’s actually your responsibility to advocate for yourself and tell your health care providers how you’re feeling. Treatment can include anti-depressants however, learning to manage your PCOS symptoms and adopting healthy lifestyle changes have been shown to significantly improve symptoms of depression.