One of the indicators of a woman’s overall good health is a regular menstrual cycle. The Covid-19 pandemic and its far-reaching implications continue to unfold globally, resulting in a surge of stress and anxiety among women which may lead to a delay in the menstrual cycle. You might find this confusing, but stress-associated factors could lead to the manifestation of PCOS among women during the pandemic scare. Necessary steps to alleviate stress and anxiety in women should be taken as a priority and awareness must be spread among women about this link between stress and PCOS.
To understand the correlation between stress and PCOS, TC46 connected with Dr Aindri Sanyal, Fertility Consultant at Nova IVF Fertility, Kolkata.
1. Pandemic Stress Can Intensify Pre-Existing Hormonal Imbalances & Trigger PCOS
Routine activities such as sleep patterns, eating habits, and physical activity have been disrupted because of being confined indoors for an extended period of time. Extreme stomach cramps, irregular periods, and headaches are also reported. Because of the epidemic, women’s stress levels have risen. The amount of cortisol produced by the body is influenced by stress. Infertility affects 40% of women who are under a lot of stress. However, there is no concrete evidence that infertility is caused by stress.
Stress, in addition to intensifying pre-existing hormonal imbalances, may also trigger imbalances and even PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) in women. If you were borderline PCOS all along, the stress of the pandemic may have pushed you over the edge. Such unusual circumstances may aggravate pre-existing hormonal imbalances in women.
PCOS 101: Here is your ultimate guide to navigating PCOS.
2. Stress Can Manifest Your PCOS
Cortisol is a stress hormone that our bodies produce when we are stressed. When it is abundant, it reduces oestrogen production, resulting in an increase in androgen levels. Androgen is crucial in connecting with the sebaceous glands. These glands produce oil when under stress. Excess oil clogs our skin pores, causing inflammation in the form of acne. If hormonal imbalances persist in women, they may affect hair growth, cause bloating, hair loss, difficulty concentrating, and even impair fertility in the long run.
Stress can manifest your PCOS. Certain hormones produced by the brain that can be particularly affected by stressful periods include LH, FSH, and prolactin, which are frequently the root causes of menstrual cycle irregularity in PCOS women.
3. Stress Can Have A Negative Impact On Fertility
Stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine rise during stressful situations and can have a negative impact on fertility. Blood flow can be increased due to reducing stress.
Women who are infertile are more likely to be depressed than women who are not infertile. Furthermore, the processes of fertility treatment may add to the stress. Stress, on the other hand, affects people differently. As a result, questions about the effects of stress on reproductive functions are being debated.
Want to conceive naturally with PCOS? Here’s all the information you need to help you do it.
4. PCOS Causes Anxiety & Depression That Can Result From Stress
The connection between PCOS and anxiety is unclear, but it is believed that it is due to the symptoms themselves. Many people with PCOS experience significant social anxiety, generalised anxiety, and panic attacks as a result of physical manifestations of PCOS. It is more likely to affect younger women with PCOS. Some also struggle with infertility, which can cause anticipatory anxiety about whether they will be able to have children and start a family. PCOS causes stress, anxiety, and depression that can result from stress.
Depression and anxiety are common in women with PCOS. Learn here how PCOS might affect your mental and emotional health, including mood, stress, and body image with expert-led tips on effectively combating it.
5. Common Symptoms Of Stress-Induced PCOS To Look Out For Are:
- Ovarian cysts
- Menstrual irregularities
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) isn’t a one size fits all diagnosis. Did you know there are 4 types of PCOS? Find out here which one you have and how to manage it effectively.
10 Ways To Treat Stress-Induced PCOS
1. Eating Whole Foods
These foods have been prepared as close to their natural, unprocessed state as possible. It can include in your diet include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Whole foods do not contain artificial sugars, hormones, and preservatives.
2. Consumption Of Carbohydrates & Protein
Protein and carbohydrates both influence your energy and hormone levels. Eating protein stimulates your body’s production of insulin. Unprocessed, high-carbohydrate foods can help improve insulin sensitivity. Rather than attempting a low-carb diet, concentrate on getting enough healthy protein. The best plant-based protein sources are nuts, legumes, and whole grains.
3. Focus On An Anti-Inflammatory Diet
PCOS is described as low-level chronic inflammation. Including anti-inflammatory foods such as olive oil, tomatoes, leafy greens, fatty fish such as mackerel and tuna, and tree nuts in your diet can help you feel better.
4. Increase Your Magnesium Consumption
Almonds, cashews, spinach, and bananas are magnesium-rich PCOS foods that you should add to your daily diet.
5. Increase Your Iron Intake
During their period, some women with PCOS experience heavy bleeding resulting in anemia or iron deficiency. If you’ve been diagnosed with either condition, talk to your doctor about how you can increase your iron intake.
6. Connect With Nature
Connecting yourself with nature is mandatory. Try to spend some time with nature which can benefit both the body and the mind. It reduces feelings of anxiety, stress, and worry.
7. Include Soy In Your Food
Soy activates oestrogen in the body. If you have PCOS, this may help balance your hormones. However, there is evidence that adding soy to your diet may disrupt your endocrine system.
8. Keep A Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce insulin resistance, regulate your period, and lower your risk of PCOS-related conditions.
9. Maintain Good Sleep Hygiene
Sleep reduces stress and helps to regulate cortisol, which helps to balance your hormones. Sleep disturbances, on the other hand, are twice as common in women with PCOS.
10. Manage Your Stress Levels
Cortisol can be regulated by reducing stress. Many of the strategies, such as yoga, getting enough sleep, and avoiding caffeine, can help to reduce stress levels. You can also try to find your stress triggers and try to eradicate them.
Find here 14 yoga asanas to treat PCOS.