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Women with PCOS more likely to experience mental health disorders, finds study
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Women with PCOS more likely to experience mental health disorders, finds study

A condition that affects a woman’s hormone levels and causes acne and facial hair growth, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can also lead to severe mental health issues, suggests a new study, conducted by researchers from the Cardiff University. The study aimed to determine an association between PCOS and psychiatric outcomes in women and the rates of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in their offspring.

For the study presented recently at the Society for Endocrinology annual conference in the U.K., the researchers examined about 17,000 women diagnosed with PCOS and followed them regularly for a period of six months, including routine follow-up appointments. When compared to healthy samples with the same age, body mass index (BMI) and geographical location, the researchers discovered that those suffering from PCOS were more likely to experience mental health disorders like anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. In addition to the syndrome being associated with psychiatric morbidity, PCOS also posed an increased risk of ADHD and ASD in the offspring of the mothers with the syndrome.

The study’s lead researcher Dr. Aled Rees from the Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute, Cardiff University, said, “The effect of PCOS on mental health is under-appreciated. Our work shows that screening for mental health disorders should be considered during clinical assessments.” However, Rees said that more research was required to ensure the neurodevelopmental effects of PCOS.

What is PCOS?

A common syndrome, PCOS affects at least 5 million American women of reproductive age. In addition to being the most common cause of female infertility, PCOS can lead to serious health problems among women that include high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol and stroke. While the disorder often begins soon after the first menstrual period, it can also develop in the 20s or 30s. To be diagnosed with PCOS, women need to have at least two of the following three symptoms:

  • cysts in ovaries
  • irregular menstrual cycle
  • high androgen levels

Though the exact causes of PCOS are not yet known, both weight and family history of the disorder appear to play a part in its development. Considered to be a lifelong health condition, women suffering from PCOS should go for regular check-ups with their health care providers and make lifestyle changes like losing weight and increasing physical activity.

Need for timely diagnosis and check-ups

To help curb PCOS symptoms, the researchers suggested patients to have regular mental health check-ups and screenings to ensure timely diagnosis and treatment. A leading women-only rehab, Sovereign Health of Arizona offers individualized treatment to women suffering from mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and bipolar disorder, among others. It also offers various treatments for drug addiction and co-occurring conditions.

In addition to providing evidence-based therapies, Sovereign Health’s recovery program also provides women with the necessary coping skills and techniques that are required to maintain an overall good health and prevent any relapse. For more information on our top-notch treatment programs or to locate our state-of-the-art women’s mental health facilities in Chandler, call our 24/7 helpline. You can even chat online with one of our counselors to know more about our finest mental health retreats for women in Chandler.

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