Can PCOS Cause Depression? Science Is Finally Paying Attention

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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition of hormonal imbalance that plagues many women in the height of their reproductive years. PCOS is infamous for causing infertility, but it's symptoms actually extend much further. As millennial women everywhere seek to understand their mind-body connection, many are wondering — can PCOS cause depression?

There might not be enough research published at this time to say definitively, but at least one leading organization believes there is reason to think so. Romper turned to the Endocrine Society, the world's largest professional organization of physicians and scientists who treat and research hormonal health conditions, for the facts on a PCOS-depression correlation.

According to a research study conducted at the University of Western Australia and published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, "women with PCOS have an increased risk of psychological morbidity, in that they had more hospital admissions with a diagnosis of depression and anxiety disorder, more recreational drug-related incidents, and more hospital admissions for self-harm" than did the control group. With these results, the study confirms that women with PCOS are at an increased risk of emotional distress, depression, anxiety disorders, and self-harm.

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Again, more research must be done in order for depression to be officially added as a symptom of PCOS, but studies like this one can go a long way in preparing physicians to give the best care possible to their patients. Angela Grassi, of the PCOS Nutrition Center, tells Romper she recommends health professionals screen all women with PCOS in their care for mood disorders. Whether the mental health issue comes from a hormonal imbalance or from the difficulties of living with the condition, or both, Grassi maintains that women with PCOS are at an increased vulnerability for depression and anxiety.

Not everyone with PCOS will experience depression of course, but if you do you are not alone. Talk with your physician immediately about your symptoms and concerns, and make a plan together to move forward with your care.