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Polycystic ovary syndrome: Mental health link 'not recognised'

The symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) became so difficult for one woman, she did not want to live.

Angharad Medi Lewis from Carmarthenshire said "embarrassing" heavy periods and excess facial hair made her not want to leave home.

"I was having very heavy periods, I was in serious pain for a whole week every month, growing hair on my face, I was anxious, so worried about going out because of the heavy periods that it was actually embarrassing," she said.

According to Neuroendocrinology expert Prof Aled Rees, the condition and its link with mental health side effects "isn't appreciated enough".

"Patients often come to us at the clinic, and it's obvious from the symptoms they describe, that it's going to have an impact on their mental health."

He said there was a "gap" in the general conversation with PCOS patients.

"There needs to be greater emphasis for patients and doctors that any consultation they have includes a discussion about mental health because there is an effective treatment available".

The charity Fair Treatment for Women in Wales has called on the Welsh government to put women's physical and mental health at the top of the agenda.

Julie Richards, a consultant with the charity, said the mental health impacts of conditions like PCOS and endometriosis, are often forgotten.

"We need specialist clinics in Wales, and when it comes to women's health generally, we're lagging behind in all areas," she said.

The Welsh government said women's wellbeing was a priority and it would publish plans on how to support women.

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Source: BBC News, 25 February 2022


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