Getting To Grips With The Symptoms

Mental and emotional health is just as important as physical health. Depression and anxiety are common in women with PCOS, but are often overlooked and therefore left untreated. Approximately 34% of women with PCOS have depression compared to 7% of women in the general population and around 45% have anxiety, compared to only 18% of the general population. It has also been shown that the longer it takes to receive a diagnosis of PCOS, the more likely women are to be depressed or anxious.

Depression and anxiety can impact on your quality of life in several ways:


  • Physically – by disrupting your eating and sleeping patterns
  • Psychologically – by reducing your motivation and increasing feelings of worthlessness
  • Socially – by affecting your relationships


Research shows experiencing the symptoms of PCOS, including excess hair growth, hair loss, acne, weight changes and fertility problems, can negatively affect mood, self–confidence and body image.

Reduced or poor mental and emotional health can make it difficult to look after yourself, follow a healthy lifestyle and make the best decisions about your health. Awareness of the effects of mood on managing lifestyle is the key to managing PCOS.

What affects your emotional health?

There are many factors that influence emotional health, including:

  • Having a chronic disease like PCOS, where there are physical and psychological changes
  • Lifestyle and stress
  • Genes, personality and thinking
  • Self esteem
  • Body image
  • Relationships, family and friends
  • Experiences, your sense of purpose and your coping styles

Reactions to diagnosis

Being diagnosed with a chronic disease like PCOS can generate a range of feelings and emotions, often these are similar to a grief reaction. Not everyone will experience these feelings and, in no particular order, the reactions can be:

  • shock
  • disbelief
  • anger
  • frustration
  • sadness
  • numbness
  • fear
  • anxiety
  • pragmatism
  • acceptance
  • determination

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Having a diagnosis and living with a condition such as PCOS can cause stress.

Stress occurs when you feel threatened or feel you cannot cope with a situation. While a little stress can provide motivation to act, too much stress, particularly over a long period of time, can take its toll on your health and sense of wellbeing.

It’s helpful to take time to work out what may cause you stress. On a day-to-day basis, what is stressful for one person is not necessarily stressful for another.

Body image & PCOS

The physical changes of PCOS can affect your body image.  Therefore it is important to seek treatment for things like acne and excess hair growth if these are of concern to you and affect how you think about your body.  If PCOS has made you feel self–conscious, reduced your self-esteem and confidence and/or affected your behaviour, such as restricted your eating, caused you to obsess over food or not spend time with your friends, talk to a health professional and/or a person you trust.

Seeking help & support

Depending on how long it has been since you were diagnosed with PCOS you are likely to require different information and will have differing emotional and physical needs as time progresses. Some women will experience clinical depression and anxiety after they have been diagnosed with PCOS; others may emerge from the diagnosis with determination and a sense of empowerment and knowledge. For example some women diagnosed with PCOS will see it as the end of freedom and choice thinking perhaps they are controlled by a condition, while others will focus on knowledge gained, that they have an explanation for their symptoms.

If you have anxiety, depression and/or the emotional effects of PCOS are troubling you, seek help from your doctor, psychologist, or accredited health professional. Quality of life can be improved by: Gaining a better understanding of PCOS, anxiety and depression, Getting treatment to manage symptoms as soon as possible, Understanding how stress affects your physical and emotional health, Understanding the things that help you to make changes and the things that stop you from making changes

We know that dealing with PCOS is difficult. Conquer PCOS is our effort to make this journey easier for you. Daily tips, useful medical information and expert opinion is just now a click away!

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