A huge section, which is 70% of women and girls of reproductive age, remains undiagnosed in the primary (stage 1) care of PCOS globally. The recent WHO (World Health Organization) data suggests that 116 million women (3.4%) are affected globally. In India itself, the range is 3.7-22.5% of the female population. Though there is a rapid rise in cases, not much is given or taken.
PCOS (Polycystic Ovary/Ovarian Syndrome) is the most prevalent female endocrine disorder and the preeminent cause of infertility. It is not only characterized by a cystic ovary but also by ovarian dysfunction and androgen excess. It is a combination of signs and symptoms related to an imbalance of hormones. This imbalance leads to hirsutism (hair growing in areas where men typically grow hair, e.g.- face, abdomen, chest, and back), balding, acne, and oily skin. Ovarian dysfunction looks like a complete absence of menstruation (amenorrhea) to menstruation delayed to 35 days or more (oligomenorrhea) to heavy bleeding (menorrhagia).
Due to all these dermatological, metabolic, and reproductive disturbances, PCOS affects psychological and sleep areas in a woman’s life, leading to acute anxiety, depression, sleep apnea, disturbed sleep, and obesity. Women with PCOS are four times more likely to be at risk for depression compared with women without PCOS.
If you’ve been told you have PCOS, you may feel frustrated and sad as well, but then there will be relief that there are reasons and possible treatments for the symptoms that you have been having such a hard time dealing with— e.g., keeping a healthy weight, managing stress related to it, hirsutism, acne, or irregular periods. It can be difficult to have a diagnosis without an exact cure. However, it’s important for women with PCOS to know they are not alone.
Finding a support network and a healthcare provider who knows a lot about PCOS and is someone you feel comfortable talking with is very important. Even though the results may take a long time, it is important to keep working on a healthy lifestyle and not let PCOS get you down. Many PCOS sufferers claim that discussing their worries with a counsellor can be beneficial because it lowers their problems.
Along with diet and lifestyle modifications to maintain a healthy weight, the 54321 technique can really help battle the high levels of anxiety and depression in women facing PCOS. This technique is the best form of self-care for females who find it hard to focus on other important issues apart from the everyday mental struggles that PCOS offer.
54321 technique is a fun and easy way to practice mindfulness. It is so much more than the counts of breathing which we use to calm anger and nervousness. It keeps the 5 senses in play like the eyes, nose, ears, skin and tongue. It is Simple, Practical and Therapeutic.
Let’s understand it. You need to Focus on –
- 5 things you see – From the 1000 things that you see, zero it down to five which relate well to your present situation and how it does wonders to the environment/surroundings.
- 4 things you can touch – give priority to touches that give you comfort like massaging your ears, your water bottle, a plant, pen. Feel its texture, weight and shape.
- 3 things you Hear – This can be a challenge as you will tend to listen to the loudest sounds /noise first. Listen to quieter and soft sounds or music/songs that you enjoy.
- 2 things you Smell – Differentiate between pleasant and unpleasant smells. Smell the only 2 things that will make you feel relaxed, like perfume in your napkin, your favourite hand lotion or an odour that you want to move away from.
- 1 thing you can taste – This is just as easy as popping a mint or gum in your mouth or drinking your plain/flavoured water. Being able to apply this natural, easy-to-remember remedy for anxiety and being grounded will help interrupt the nervousness and make you feel instantly re-energised and supported.
In conclusion, the 54321 technique is a powerful mindfulness practice that offers significant relief from the anxiety and depression often experienced by women with PCOS. It provides a simple yet effective way to reconnect with the present moment, using our senses to ground ourselves and break free from the grip of anxiety.
Living with PCOS can be challenging, but it’s crucial to remember that you’re not alone in this journey. Finding a support network and seeking guidance from healthcare providers who specialize in PCOS can make a world of difference. While there may not be a definitive cure, there are ways to manage and alleviate the symptoms, allowing you to lead a fulfilling and healthy life.
At GOQii, we believe in holistic well-being, and that includes mental health. If you’ve found this information helpful, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Remember, you can explore more articles on topics like these in our Healthy Reads section. For personalised guidance and support on managing PCOS, consider subscribing to GOQii’s Personalised Health Coaching here.