In polycystic ovary syndrome, anxiety is often an issue. I have long been interested in how best to tackle this problem, and indeed my PhD was on the psychological aspects of PCOS.
After some thought and background research, I decided to create a stress management program specifically for PCOS, based around the fact that some of the hormones that are a problem in PCOS come from the adrenal glands, and because the adrenal glands are responsive to stress, they are conversely responsive to relaxation. Although many therapists use hypnotherapy for anxiety, nobody previously had used techniques derived from hypnotherapy to alter the hormone levels in PCOS.
In polycystic ovary syndrome, depression is also a common feature, and I found that my programme was successful in reducing not only anxiety but depression in PCOS. Moreover, I found that the treatment programme – six weeks of relaxation and guided imagery – also significantly reduced the stress hormone cortisol and the adrenal androgens DHEAS and androstenedione, both hormones with key relevance to PCOS. Unfortunately, my treatment didn’t reduce testosterone levels, but perhaps a future programme might be able to do so.
the Royal Free London Hospital for their help in making this project a success.