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Why Are Women With PCOS More Likely To Have Anxiety?

Why Are Women With PCOS More Likely To Have Anxiety?

PCOS causes hormonal imbalance which result in anxiety. Also symptoms like infertility, irregular menstrual cycles, abnormal hair growth, weight gain, acne and sleep disturbances can affect you physically and emotionally which in turn can trigger anxiety. To treat PCOS, try yoga, use ashwagandha roots, castor oil and follow a balanced diet plan.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the one of the most common hormonal disorders affecting women and girls of childbearing age. PCOS may cause infertility, obesity and excessive facial hair in women. It can also lead to severe mental health issues including anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.1

High Testosterone Levels

In women with PCOS, ovaries produce more androgens (a group of “male” hormones that includes testosterone) than normal. High testosterone is known to increase anxiety.2

[Read: Ashwagandha For PCOS]

Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance affects the body’s ability to process and maintain optimum blood sugar levels. PCOS, insulin resistance and depression have been known to be correlated. The findings of a 2003 study suggest a high prevalence of depression among women with PCOS and an association between depression and PCOS markers. The study also found that depression was associated with greater insulin resistance and higher body mass index.3

  1. Insulin Resistance and Depression – Insulin resistance may trigger the production of counter-regulatory hormones (such as cortisol and GLP-1) that play a role in anxiety and depression.4
  2. Insulin Resistance and Weight Gain – Insulin resistance can also lead to weight gain which can be another cause for anxiety.5

Psychological Impact Of PCOS Symptoms

The symptoms of PCOS (especially those that can lead to some form of social ridicule) can also cause anxiety in women. According to a study conducted by the researchers from the East Tennessee State University, participants with PCOS were found to have significantly higher scores on all of the symptoms evaluated like: infertility, irregular menstrual cycles, abnormal hair growth, weight gain, acne and other skin conditions, sleep disturbances and corresponding psychological distress measures, particularly for anxiety, depression, somatization (the conversion of psychological distress to physical symptoms) and interpersonal sensitivity.6

Ayurvedic Treatment For PCOS

Ashwagandha Roots

Ashwagandha root is highly prescribed in Ayurveda for the treatment of PCOS. An exclusive blend made with Ashwagandha roots and Arjun bark is prescribed for PCOS patients. Other proposed uses of Ashwagandha are combating anxiety and depression.7

Castor Oil

Sebastian Pole in his book Ayurvedic Medicine: The Principles of Traditional Practice recommends the use of castor oil. It is easily absorbed through the skin and is beneficial to the blood and lymph vessels, uterus, bowels and fallopian tubes.


Ayurveda strongly advocates eating a balanced diet at regular intervals. The following are especially beneficial for PCOS:

  • Food: cauliflower, tomatoes, onions, peaches, apples, and grapefruit
  • Herbs: Varuna, Haritaki, Pippali, and Anjani

You can find further details about ayurvedic recommendations for PCOS at Polysystic Ovarian Syndrome: Ayurvedic Treatment, Remedies, Diet.

[Read: Which Herbs Can Balance Your Hormones?]


Yoga aids in weight loss relieves stress and improves blood circulation to the ovary. This helps stabilize the normal function of hypothalmo-pituitary–ovarian axis and is beneficial in treating PCOS.8

Pranayama (breathing exercise) is a powerful technique that helps calm the mind.

Here are some of the recommended yoga asanas:

  • Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation
  • Bhadrasana or Butterfly Pose
  • Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose
  • Naukasana or Boat Pose
  • Dhanurasana or Bow Pose
  • Shavasana or Corpse Pose
  • Bharadvajasana or Bharadvaja’s Twist
  • Supta Badhakonasana or Reclining Butterfly Pose

References   [ + ]

1. Hart, R. “PCOS and infertility.” Panminerva medica50, no. 4 (2008): 305-314.
2. Weiner, Cindy L., Margaret Primeau, and David A. Ehrmann. “Androgens and mood dysfunction in women: comparison of women with polycystic ovarian syndrome to healthy controls.” Psychosomatic medicine 66, no. 3 (2004): 356-362.
3. Rasgon, Natalie L., Rekha C. Rao, Sun Hwang, Lori L. Altshuler, Shana Elman, Joni Zuckerbrow-Miller, and Stanley G. Korenman. “Depression in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: clinical and biochemical correlates.” Journal of affective disorders 74, no. 3 (2003): 299-304.
4. Musselman, Dominique L., et al. “Relationship of depression to diabetes types 1 and 2: epidemiology, biology, and treatment.” Biological psychiatry 54.3 (2003): 317-329.
5. Dunaif, Andrea. “Insulin resistance and the polycystic ovary syndrome: mechanism and implications for pathogenesis.” Endocrine reviews18, no. 6 (1997): 774-800.
6. McCook, Judy G., Beth A. Bailey, Stacey L. Williams, Sheeba Anand, and Nancy E. Reame. “Differential contributions of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) manifestations to psychological symptoms.” The journal of behavioral health services & research 42, no. 3 (2015): 383.
7. Mishra, Lakshmi-Chandra, Betsy B. Singh, and Simon Dagenais. “Scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Withania somnifera (ashwagandha): a review.” Alternative Medicine Review 5.4 (2000): 334-346.
8. Verma, Anjali, Sarvesh Kumar, Laxmipriya Dei, and Kamini Dhiman. “Management of PCOS: A psychosomatic disorder by yoga practice.” International journal of innovative research and development 4, no. 1 (2015).

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.