According to Mayo Clinic, "Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods. The ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid and fail to regularly release eggs."
I was a senior in high school when I was diagnosed with PCOS after a series of tests and ultrasounds. At the time, I dismissed it as irregular and painful periods. Whatever, no big deal. It wasn't until recently I discovered my experience with PCOS was so much more than that.
A study done by Anna Damone of Cambridge University says, "People who have been diagnosed with PCOS are about 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety and depression than people without PCOS (1-3). People with PCOS are also much more likely to report symptoms of anxiety and depression and those symptoms are more likely to be severe (3-5)."
According to Dr. Gretchen Kubacky, "One study of women with PCOS reported a high prevalence of overall eating disorders (21%) versus the prevalence among women without PCOS (4%)." According to Julie Duffy RN, another study showed "the prevalence of disordered eating in women with PCOS was over four times the rate of disordered eating behaviors among women without PCOS."
All three of which I suffer from, I receive therapy and take medication for. My battles with anxiety, depression, and an eating disorder have been extremely challenging. Overall, there is little research on PCOS and its impacts on the women who suffer from it, But there is even less research regarding the biological linkage between PCOS and mental illness. Regardless, it is quite clear that women diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome are much more likely to suffer from mental illness than those without PCOS.
Additionally my physical symptoms include acne, weight-gain, fatigue, hirsutism, hair loss, mood changes, pelvic pain, and headaches. PCOS also may cause infertility, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, miscarage, liver inflammation, metabolic syndrome, sleep apnea, abnormal uterine bleeding, and endometrial cancer.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a lifelong syndrome, there is no cure. There is little treatment and awareness for the physical symptoms, and even less for the mental symptoms. But about 10% of women are impacted by this syndrome. PCOS impacts my life daily. It impacts my mental and physical health, and it will impact my future. The link between PCOS and mental illness is significant for the quality of life that I will live.