What Is PCOS?
PCOS also known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a hormonal disorder that affects people with ovaries, during their reproductive years. It is characterized by a combination of various symptoms, including irregular menstrual cycles, elevated levels of androgens (male hormones), and the presence of small cysts on the ovaries. PCOS can impact fertility and has been associated with a range of other health concerns.
Mood swings are a major part of the symptoms of PCOS and can end up disrupting an individual’s important days.
How Do I Know That I Have PCOS?
The primary diagnostic criteria for PCOS include the presence of at least two out of three of the following features:
Irregular Menstrual Cycles: This is one of the hallmark symptoms of PCOS. Menstrual cycles may be longer or shorter than normal, or periods may be irregular or even absent (amenorrhea).
Hyperandrogenism: Elevated levels of androgens (male hormones) can lead to various physical symptoms, including excess facial and body hair (hirsutism), acne or oily skin, and thinning hair on the scalp (male-pattern baldness).
Polycystic Ovaries: This term refers to the appearance of the ovaries on ultrasound. Ovaries with PCOS may have a larger number of small follicles that might not develop into mature eggs.
In addition to the core diagnostic criteria, individuals with PCOS might experience other symptoms and health concerns, such as:
Mood Swings: As mentioned earlier, hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS can contribute to mood swings, irritability, and mood disorders.
Weight Gain or Difficulty Losing Weight: Insulin resistance, common in PCOS, can make it more challenging to maintain a healthy weight.
Fatigue: Hormonal imbalances and irregular sleep patterns can lead to feelings of fatigue and low energy levels.
Skin Issues: Apart from acne, some individuals with PCOS may experience skin tags, darkening of the skin (acanthosis nigricans), and skin discoloration.
Infertility: Irregular ovulation or lack of ovulation can lead to difficulties in conceiving.
How Is PCOS Associated With Mood Swings?
While mood swings are not a defining characteristic of PCOS, hormonal fluctuations associated with the condition can potentially contribute to mood changes. Here’s how PCOS might be linked to mood swings:
Hormonal Imbalances: PCOS often involves imbalances in hormones such as insulin, androgens (male hormones), and estrogen. These hormonal fluctuations can affect neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate mood, potentially leading to mood swings, irritability, or even depression and anxiety.
Insulin Resistance: Many individuals with PCOS also have insulin resistance, where the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin. Insulin resistance can lead to unstable blood sugar levels, which may impact mood and energy levels.
Androgen Levels: Elevated levels of androgens in people with PCOS can lead to symptoms like acne, excess hair growth, and thinning hair. These physical changes might impact self-esteem and body image, potentially contributing to mood changes.
Menstrual Irregularities: PCOS can cause irregular menstrual cycles or even amenorrhea (absence of periods). The hormonal fluctuations associated with irregular periods might influence mood.
Inflammation: Some studies suggest a link between PCOS and chronic low-grade inflammation. Inflammation in the body has been associated with mood disorders and could potentially contribute to mood swings.
Why Does PCOS Occur?
The exact cause of PCOS is not fully understood, but it is believed to result from a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors. Research is ongoing to better comprehend the underlying mechanisms that contribute to the development of PCOS. Here are some of the factors that are thought to play a role:
Genetics: There appears to be a genetic component to PCOS, as the condition often runs in families. Certain gene variants may increase the likelihood of developing PCOS or predispose individuals to the hormonal imbalances associated with the disorder.
Hormonal Imbalances: PCOS is characterized by hormonal imbalances, particularly elevated levels of androgens (male hormones) such as testosterone. These hormonal imbalances can disrupt the normal ovulation process and lead to the formation of ovarian cysts.
Insulin Resistance: Many individuals with PCOS also have insulin resistance, a condition in which the body’s cells do not respond effectively to insulin, leading to elevated levels of insulin in the blood. Insulin resistance can contribute to increased androgen production, disrupt ovulation, and lead to other metabolic issues.
Inflammation: Chronic low-grade inflammation is often observed in individuals with PCOS. Inflammation can affect hormone production and contribute to insulin resistance.
Lifestyle and Environmental Factors: Obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle, including poor diet and lack of exercise, can worsen the symptoms of PCOS. Excess weight can exacerbate insulin resistance and hormonal imbalances.
Endocrine Disruptors: Exposure to certain environmental factors, such as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), has been suggested as a potential contributor to PCOS. EDCs are chemicals found in everyday products that can interfere with hormone regulation.
Gut Microbiota: Emerging research indicates a possible link between gut health and PCOS. An imbalance in gut bacteria, known as dysbiosis, could potentially impact metabolic and hormonal processes.
How To Naturally Treat Mood Swings Associated With PCOS?
Managing mood swings associated with PCOS can involve a combination of lifestyle changes, and psychological support.
The ten modern lifestyle root causes for hormonal imbalance related to PCOS that may on some level lead to mood swings associated with PCOS are:
- Food Related Causes– Inflammation, toxicity, acidity, excess male hormones, insulin resistance.
- Exercise-Related Causes: Sedentary lifestyle, lack of muscle strength, excess ovarian fat.
- Sleep-Related Causes: Poor sleep quality (Lack of Deep Sleep).
- Stress Related Causes: Chronic Stress. Addressing these triggers through an integrated approach can naturally restore hormonal balance.
How can the Five Pillars Integrated Lifestyle Approach Help You to Have Hormonal Balance and Help With Managing Mood Swings Associated With PCOS?
- Eat Right: Embrace living, water-rich, whole, plant-based foods that nurture our genetic potential. By opting for local and seasonal choices, we honor nature’s wisdom. Eliminating packaged and processed foods liberates us from epigenetic imprints, elevating our hormonal health.
- Move More: Embark on a journey of holistic lifestyle changes, where staying active transcends mere exercise. Embracing constant movement throughout the day optimizes epigenetic expression, igniting hormonal balance. Engage in pleasurable physical activities, dance, or even mindful walks to unlock the power of epigenetic triggers.
- Breathe Aware: As we deepen our understanding of Pranayama, the science of breath, we access a profound gateway to support gland function and harmonize hormones. Harnessing the breath’s epigenetic influence, we transcend the ordinary and elevate our hormonal well-being.
- Sleep Better: Unlock the secrets of deep sleep, a transformative practice for healing and regeneration. With the art of Yog Nidra, we embrace epigenetic potential, unearthing hormonal harmony in the realm of dreams. Rejuvenate your entire being through this exquisite dance with the epigenetic clock.
- Mind Free: Journey into the realm of emotions, thoughts, and stress resilience, where journaling, gratitude, and emotional practices become our guiding compass. Embracing mind free approach, we shift our narrative from stress to serenity, empowering our hormonal landscape. For specific individuals additional support of medical attention by a psychiatrist might be also required, which is absolutely normal.
PCOS is closely associated with insulin resistance, where the body is resistant to the effects of insulin and therefore more insulin is produced. This leads to a high amount of insulin in the bloodstream, which through a series of steps, results in your ovaries producing more testosterone and other androgens. A holistic integrated healthy lifestyle and psychological support contribute to addressing the mood swings that are associated with PCOS!