The symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) aren’t just felt physically. Sometimes the psychological toll of PCOS is the symptom most prevalent and obvious to those around us. Cysters, you know better than anyone that when dealing with chronic illness, you have a lot of big feelings.
But, where do those come from? The question has been asked many times before: Does PCOS cause mood swings? If you’ve felt catapulted from one emotion to the other through your PCOS journey, Cyster, stay with me. This post is for you. Today, I’ve dedicated this post to discussing the relationship between PCOS and mood swings. Let’s get into it:
PCOS and Mood Swings
Does PCOS cause mood swings?
PCOS causes mood swings. Multiple physical and cognitive symptoms of PCOS lead to mood swings, which makes dealing with your disorder a whole lot harder. The main way that PCOS results in mood swings are through chemical imbalances:
Irregular Menstrual Cycles
Our mood swings are often right before our periods because of hormonal imbalances. However, a woman with PCOS often doesn’t have a regular menstrual cycle. She has irregular periods, which means the hormone changes are less consistent, more drastic, and more upsetting.
In addition to issues with irregular periods, many people with PCOS have insulin resistance where their body doesn’t properly process glucose. Then, a sort of domino effect happens setting your whole body out of wack. Your ovaries produce more testosterone and androgens. You experience inflammation and your adrenal system releases cortisol (stress hormones) to fight it. And, there have been studies performed that show insulin resistance alters dopamine turnover.
This hormonal imbalance cocktail doesn’t only affect your body through weight gain, excess hair growth, hair loss, acne, and fatigue, but it wreaks havoc on your emotional well-being. This out-of-balance endocrine system leads to mood swings, anxiety, and depression. Women with PCOS are about 3 times more likely to experience severe mood disorders than those without.
PCOS Anxiety And Depression
Unfortunately, Cysters, that’s not all. Not only do hormonal imbalances cause mood changes, but often women experience depression and anxiety because of PCOS comorbidities. Whether it’s those extra pounds, unrelenting acne, unwanted hair growth, infertility, or other symptoms, PCOS can send women into a mental health mess. Eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and, of course, chronic mood swings are not uncommon when your daily quality of life is consumed by the effects of PCOS.
But, Cysters, stay with me. There are treatment options to balance your hormones and relieve your symptoms. (And, NO, it’s not hormonal birth control pills.) Keep reading, and I’ll walk you through some ways to alleviate your moodiness. If you want to hear about what other women are doing to relieve their mood issues, check out this episode of A Cyster and Her Mister where we break down this very topic of mood swings and read tips from other Cysters out there like us!
How to Deal with PCOS Mood Swings
Cut dairy and gluten.
Diary and gluten may increase inflammation throughout the body. Especially with PCOS. The immune system reacts to lactose, wheat, and rye and causes tons of issues like fatigue, digestive problems, weight gain, chronic pain, and mood disorders. Inflammation overworks your body and will leave you feeling defeated mentally and physically.
Cutting out dairy and gluten can put you on the path to success. Your immune system and adrenal system alike can stop working in overdrive, which will hopefully improve many of your symptoms of PCOS including mood issues.
Eat less sugar.
As we mentioned earlier, insulin resistance is when your body can’t properly process glucose. Your muscles, fat, and liver don’t use the glucose for energy like they’re supposed to. Instead, your pancreas works overtime to make more insulin to help the body break down the glucose. In turn, this makes your blood sugar shoot up.
So, it’s not uncommon for a woman with PCOS to experience persistent peaks and valleys in her blood sugar. The highs cause anger and sadness, while the lows cause anxiousness and nervousness. Beyond that, insulin resistance causes other hormonal imbalances that jerk our emotions around like a ragdoll. Cutting sugar to a minimum will help keep your body from spinning into this cycle of overworking and overproducing.
Minimize drinking caffeine.
Women with PCOS aren’t doing any favors by leaning on caffeine as a crutch for energy. When you have PCOS, you often have cortisol dysregulation, and your body can’t take the stimulation of caffeine, leaving you tired the next day because you couldn’t get a restful night of sleep. Your adrenal system is likely already releasing too much cortisol because of inflammation or stress. So, when you add caffeine in there, your body has to work even harder to produce more cortisol. Which doesn’t energize you, but leaves you fatigued and, you guessed it, moody!
Acupuncture can be a game changer for those struggling with PCOS. I’ve already discussed at length how your body (with untamed PCOS) is brimming with stress hormones. Acupuncture can help calm your body’s fight-or-flight stress response to inflammation, caffeine, and other cortisol producers by releasing calming, feel-good neurotransmitters like endorphins.
Regular acupuncture can do wonders for chronic anxiety as it helps manage your body’s response to stress. I go often, and I can tell when I’ve missed a few sessions.
PCOS Supplements For Mood Swings
Taking the right supplements will support your body when things are going awry. You can learn more about what vitamins and supplements you should take to manage all of your PCOS symptoms here, but for mood management specifically, here are your best ones:
- Ovasitol: Ovasitol is a mixture of B vitamins made for people with insulin resistance. These B vitamins are vital for stress management, androgen production, and neurotransmitter balance. And, the Ovasitol blend helps with hormone and blood sugar regulation as well. I have seen so much benefit from this supplement. (Use code 292660 for 15% off.)
- Omega 3: Omega-3 stabilizes serotonin levels and helps with meal satisfaction. So, when you cut out dairy and gluten and are managing that new diet plan, an Omega-3 supplement will help you feel fuller and more satisfied. That’ll prevent you from sending your blood sugar all over with sugary snacks and carbs.
- Melatonin: When you’re wired and anxious, it’s hard to fall asleep. When you do finally fall asleep, you don’t wake up feeling satisfied. Nope. More anxious! Use a melatonin supplement to help you fall asleep faster and achieve better sleep overall.
Drink green tea.
Green tea has L-theanine, which is a calming agent that increases alpha brain waves. Make sure it’s caffeine-free, of course. But, try replacing your daily coffee or soda intake with decaf green tea instead. You could see lots of improvements in your mood and other PCOS symptoms.
Do slow weighted workouts.
You might have learned that a good workout means your pulse is pounding and your heart is racing. For many, that’s true! But, for women of reproductive age with PCOS who are already running hot, more adrenaline, cortisol, and other anxiety-inducing chemicals are NOT good for your mood or your body. Instead, you can do slow weighted workouts to keep a healthy mood and weight.
Sirak develops PCOS-specific workouts and delivers them to Cysterhood each month. They’re around 30 to 45 minutes long, and with the membership, you also get recipes, weight loss plans, and so much more. Check it out if you’re looking to rewrite your gym life and take control of your PCOS symptoms!
Mood issues with PCOS are common, but with these tips, I hope you can find relief!
PCOS is not something you just have to deal with. Cysters, there are so many ways to relieve even your most debilitating symptoms. If you want more answers on how to naturally alleviate the effects of PCOS, listen to my podcast “A Cyster and Her Mister” and browse the blog. Take a step towards recovery with The Cysterhood!