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Psychological counselling

How is PCO related to mental health?

Polycystic ovaries is a complex condition which impacts many aspects of a person’s health, including mental health. Patients who have been diagnosed with PCO are about 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety and depression than people without PCO. People with PCO are also much more likely to report symptoms of anxiety and depression and those symptoms are more likely to be severe .

Most of the research on PCO and mental health has focused on depression and anxiety, but it may also be associated with an increased risk of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, and eating disorders .

Why is there a link between PCOS and mental health?

It’s unclear what causes the increased risk for anxiety and depression among people with PCO. It could be due to PCO symptoms or hormonal differences associated with the disorder, or to a combination of factors that is still unknown.


PCO can cause symptoms like infertility and hirsutism (excess facial and body hair) irregular periods, which causes a lot of anxiousness . Some people with PCO report feeling frustrated and anxious about their ability to become pregnant, their weight, excess body and facial hair, or lack of control over their health and bodies.

A person’s values and the culture they live in will impact which characteristics they may find distressing. These same characteristics can also impact the emotional well-being of people without PCO. People with PCO still have an increased risk for depression and anxiety regardless of their weight, age, socioeconomic factors, facial and body hair, and fertility.

Chemicals in the brain

People with PCOS who have anxiety or depression may have lower levels of certain neurotransmitters (chemicals that send signals

throughout the brain and nervous system). Neurotransmitters like serotonin (a chemical messenger within the nervous system that is associated with positive feelings) play an important role in depression and anxiety. One study showed that people with PCOS who have low levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters report more symptoms of depression and anxiety .

What treatments are available?

People who have PCO and feel depressed or anxious, or notice changes in their mood, can talk to counsellor about possible treatment options. There are many treatments that may help with depression and anxiety.
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 .
Leading an active lifestyle in general may help improve mental health. People with PCO who reported exercising regularly had fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression , and those who said they did at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week were less likely to be depressed.

Counselling and alternative therapies

In short women with PCO are more likely to experience anxiety and depression. Studies say that anywhere from 27% to around 50% of women with PCO being depressed, compared to around 195 of women without PCO.

There may be 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 PCO