PCOS, Depression, and Anxiety: Tending to Mental Health
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects as many as five million people in the United States, causing irregular menstrual cycles, metabolic abnormalities, and hormone imbalances. This can lead to other health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, and can impact not only your fertility, but your mental health as well.
A 2018 study found that participants with PCOS were more likely to experience mental health challenges, like anxiety and depression. In fact, as many as 40% of women with PCOS experience anxiety or depression. While it’s unclear if one causes the other, this news does provide doctors and fertility specialists with an important reminder of the need for compassionate and supportive fertility care.
Being mindful of your mental health during infertility treatments helps support your overall well-being, and the treatment for those with PCOS, depression, and anxiety is the same as those who don’t.
Taking Care of Your Mental Health During Your Fertility Care
Stress doesn’t cause infertility, but the idea of infertility itself is a serious cause of anxiety for many. In conjunction with working with your doctor on the best plan for you, there are some at-home things you can do to help manage your stress and protect your mental health.
Exercise is one of the best ways to relax your mind and body. Whether taking a walk, going for a run, or practicing yoga, any regular movement will help your mental health (while doing right by your physical health simultaneously). Studies have found that vigorous exercise promotes fertility in women by reducing the risk of ovulation problems and miscarriages.
Massage or Acupuncture
When it comes to stress reduction, massage and acupuncture release tension, and muscle soreness, slowing your heart rate and blood pressure and improving circulation, energy, and alertness.
Sleep is crucial when it comes to functioning properly, allowing both your brain and body to recharge. A lack of sleep not only affects your emotions, and chronic deprivation can contribute to health problems as well. Developing good sleep habits, like avoiding electronics and large meals, caffeine, or alcohol before bed, can go a long way toward improving your nightly rest.
Individual or Group Therapy
You don’t have to deal with PCOS, depression, and anxiety alone. Having someone to talk to, whether a therapist or a support group, allows you to learn coping mechanisms or ways to help manage your symptoms. If you are taking any antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications, most are generally considered safe to use during pregnancy; still, you should always talk with your doctor to discuss what the best course of action is for your unique situation.
Treatment Options for PCOS
Whether you are looking for help managing your PCOS symptoms or want to explore family-building options, our team of expert physicians is here to help you out. If you have any questions, schedule an initial consultation—free for those without fertility insurance.