Psychological Effects of PCOS
There are many mental issues that accompany Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. With all illnesses, there is a propensity for stress, and worry. When an illness adds to it, with the physical disabilities and physical ailments, this makes the mental issue even more so. Suicide is rampant, feelings of inadequacy, wanting to be someone or somewhere else. This can take over a person’s life, and when this happens, it becomes even more of a problem. Women need to realize they are women who can fight and beat this battle, and not allow it to beat them down.
A few of the psychological effects are gender identity, anxiety, depression, OCD, not to mention eating disorders, bipolar, and coexistence anxiety and depression. There is body dissatisfaction, diminished sexual satisfaction, and lower health related quality of life. The quality of life not only depends on the physical outcome, but also the mental. It is said that if we have a positive attitude, there is a better chance of you surviving. But sometimes, the negativity takes over, and does not want to allow a person to see the forest for the trees. Knowing what the mental issues that go with PCOS, can go a long way to helping a woman to be a better person, and give her a leg up. This paper will focus on gender identity, body dissatisfaction, and eating disorders.
One of the symptoms of PCOS is excessive male hormones, and this could convince a woman that she might be better off as a man. Here she is, growing a beard and moustache, she has small breasts, and a “beer” belly. Now she looks like the guy next door who sits on his porch in his jeans and wife beater. A woman wants to feel beautiful and cherished, not ugly and ridiculed. She will want to hide behind bigger shirts, and baggy jeans. She knows that she has to shave every day, and she hides this fact from her boyfriend/significant other. Women with PCOS feel they have to live a hidden second life, because of the expectations of the world. She does not want to wear the makeup, the perfume, or whatever else that a “normal” woman wears. I was sent this quote by Kimmy Urwiller earlier today, “I constantly experienced feelings of jealousy. I hated watching my friends with cute little baby bumps. I hated feeling sick all the time and not wanting to go out and do things. I felt jealousy at the people who felt good and watched them from my little nest wishing I had the energy to be like them. Wishing. Hoping. Wanting to be normal." Yes, normal is subjective, but when it comes to looking out from within, and feeling no part of it, a person never has that normalcy in their life.
Gender Identity is not just the physical features, it is what is felt on the inside. There is a huge difference between a girl being a tomboy, and her wanting to BE a boy. She fits in neither world, she does not feel comfortable playing hopscotch or jump rope or with dolls with the other girls, and she is scared of being made fun of by everyone, if she joins the boys in kickball or basketball. Everyone wants to be part of something, but if your body rejects being part of something, then you are left out. There is a common saying: “sexual identity is in the perineum, gender identity is in the cerebrum.
2012) It needs to be understood that no matter what
gender or what sex a person is, they are still a person with quality, love and
life, and all deserve to be happy, no matter how they decide to live.
As stated above there are many reasons why a woman could be unhappy. When her body does things that are not “normal”, this makes it even more difficult. Looking like a man, and unsure if she wants to be a woman or a man, it can hurt. Every woman is rarely satisfied with her body, she feels she has the wrong color eyes, or hair, wants curly hair instead of straight, scars that embarrass her, is too short, too tall, or whatever. But when a woman has an illness that disfigures the body in some way, she is now going to have to deal with the fall out, of body dissatisfaction. She might have discoloration around the neck and thighs, inordinate acne, which leads to scarring, hirsitusim, meaning increased hair growth. She can be overweight, underweight. She wants to hide, and cover her body, be someone else. But that is not her fate. She has to try and look past what she feels is embarrassing and ugly. She has to find the inner beauty, because believing in herself that is the only strength to find. Being a woman is hard enough, having physical deformities only makes it that much harder.
Last but not least, there are the eating disorders. A “typical” woman who has Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, will be overweight, possibly diabetic, and other weight issues. When she is around nine-15, her body begins to blow up, without any true reason. She eats healthy, but her body retains it, no matter what she does. Her mother and friends nag her about her weight. She becomes depressed and decides that not eating at all might solve the problem. She will exercise to the point of exhaustion, eating only about 300 calories per day. This can lead to a very debilitating illness called anorexia nervosa. Then there are the women who eat very little, and then try and throw it up, that is called bulimia. Then there are the ones who get into a vicious cycle of a cross between anorexia and over eating. One day they will eat everything in sight, then they later feel guilty, and will barely touch anything for a few days, and then will overeat again. Mothers need to realize that what their daughter is going through, is not only hurtful to their body, but to their mind. If a mother nags and berates her child, it will only lead to more problems. Love your children, hug them, and tell them that yes, life is unfair, but it can be survived.
Here are some testimonials from some women I interviewed:
· Nicole Riley The chemical imbalance that we PCOS sufferers deal with is ridiculous. One day I am fatigued, the next I am fine. One day I don't wanna carry on living this way, the next I am happy as can be. Depression itself is able to be treated but then you throw in the chemical imbalance, and you have a whole new can of worms.
· Erica Torres Depression, major anxiety and panic disorder. The amount of medications I had to take and nothing worked. Everything gave me adverse reactions. The emotional toll it takes on you because of your weight and not being able to conceive. Also your hormones just going crazy constantly. I'm about an appointment away until they diagnose me with bipolar. That’s how bad my mood swings get. Pcos sucks
· Charissa Bennett Inabnet Emotionally, I feel a lot of my issues stem from doctors and the press BLAMING me. "If you ate healthier you wouldn't have it. If you worked out harder, you wouldn't have it." That's where a lot of my anger and depression comes from.......I apologize I got off topic..........but I have serious issues with panic attacks and anxiety. The anxiety and panic attacks over nothing.....that's the worst.
· Guadalupe Meza Marroquin Mood swings, depression, insomnia and anxiety/stress. I have found that there is a link between mineral and vitamin deficiencies which causes these other mental issues. Complex Vitamin b and omegas help with my mood and depression. Magnesium/zinc make a difference for my anxiety/stress. Look up how these vitamins/mineral help with these mental disorders. I am not an expert but have done lots of research.
· Emma Cannell I have had pretty bad depression - medicated but currently "in remission" always waiting for it to rear its ugly head....
As you can see, this hurts women in so many ways, and they are frustrated and tired, and the doctors refuse to see this. The idea of what a woman’s worth is, needs to change. Not all women are meant to be wives and mothers, but that doesn’t mean their worth as a woman is any less. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is not only a physically debilitating disease, but it effects women mentally and emotionally. Doctors need to be taught that with every illness there is always a complications with the added stress. This can effect a person in many ways, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and then add in a hormonal level that can outweigh anything else, and this raises the propensity for mental issues to an astronomical amount. Women already battle for self-esteem, love, connections and friendship, adding in the health problems can cause a woman to feel even less of a woman. Fighting the battle is not impossible, but it can become a frustrating vicious cycle that many will never understand or overcome.