By naturopath Margaret Jasinska
Anxiety is an extremely common problem we see patients with at our clinic. Did you know the hormone imbalance resulting in PCOS can cause or exacerbate anxiety? This was certainly the case for my patient Rachel who consulted with me five weeks ago.
Rachel is a 28-year-old mum of a 3-year-old. She was first diagnosed with PCOS when she was 21. PCOS can be mild, moderate or severe. For most of the time Rachel’s case was mild, but it has become worse since the birth of her daughter, partly driven by weight gain. PCOS can cause fertility problems but fortunately that was not the case for Rachel.
Rachel was around 15 kilos overweight, most of which was held over her abdomen. She came with recent blood test results which showed she was low in vitamin D (not surprising since she has dark olive skin and rarely spends time outdoors). Her B12 level was at the very bottom of normal and she was zinc deficient. Women with PCOS usually have too high levels of male hormones in their bloodstream and that was the case for Rachel. The male hormones can cause symptoms like acne, greasy skin, scalp hair loss (particularly the front and sides), excess body hair and stubborn weight over the abdomen.
Anxiety was a big problem for Rachel. She had very poor stress coping mechanisms. She quickly felt overwhelmed and like she wouldn’t be able to cope with what she had to get done each day. She suffered with chest pains and palpitations regularly. Fortunately, a cardiologist determined there was nothing wrong with her heart. Other symptoms Rachel experienced were nausea in the mornings, abdominal bloating and bad breath.