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How to Manage PCOS Mood Swings and Food Cravings

Published : October 11, 2021 5 mins read Updated On : Apr 19, 2024

PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome, is a hormonal disorder that primarily affects women of reproductive age. It is characterized by symptoms such as irregular periods, excessive hair growth, and weight gain. PCOS can also lead to insulin resistance, which increases the risk of diabetes. Proper diagnosis and management are crucial for overall health and fertility. Treatment options for PCOS include lifestyle changes, medication, and hormone therapy. Understanding PCOS is essential to effectively manage its symptoms and improve quality of life. (1)

In this blog we will understand does PCOS cause mood swings? Relation between PCOS and food cravings, the best food for PCOS and foods to avoid with PCOS.

How to Manage PCOS Mood Swings and Food Cravings

PCOS Symptoms

  • Irregular menstrual cycles (oligomenorrhea) or absence of menstruation (amenorrhea)
  • Excessive hair growth (hirsutism), especially on the face, chest, back, and abdomen
  • Acne and oily skin
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight, especially around the abdomen
  • Difficulty getting pregnant (infertility) or recurrent miscarriage
  • Insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes
  • High levels of androgens (male hormones) in the blood, such as testosterone
  • Mood swings, depression, or anxiety

Link Between PCOS and Mood Swings

PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome, can have a significant impact on mood swings and emotional stability. This is because hormonal imbalances, such as elevated levels of testosterone, can contribute to changes in mood. Female hormones can produce mood swings, especially at certain points throughout the menstrual cycle and it can be difficult to distinguish them from PCOS mood fluctuations. Additionally, insulin resistance and fluctuating blood sugar levels can also affect a person's emotional state.

Tips to Manage Mood Swings in PCOS

Exercise Regularly

PCOS can have a significant impact on mental health, leading to symptoms like anxiety and depression. Regular exercise is known to boost mood by increasing the production of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals. It can also reduce stress levels and improve overall well-being. (2)

Eat Healthy Diet

Adopt a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Avoid excessive consumption of processed foods, sugary snacks, and refined carbohydrates, as they can cause blood sugar fluctuations and mood swings.

Manage Your Stress

Practice stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, mindfulness, or progressive muscle relaxation. These techniques can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation, thereby improving mood stability.

Get Adequate Sleep

Prioritise getting enough sleep each night, aiming for 7-9 hours of quality sleep. Poor sleep can exacerbate mood swings and increase stress levels. Establish a regular sleep schedule and create a relaxing bedtime routine to improve sleep quality.

Consider Counseling

Consider talking to a therapist or counselor who specializes in mood disorders or women's health. Therapy can provide coping strategies, emotional support, and a safe space to explore and address underlying emotional issues.

Consult a Healthcare Professional

If mood swings are significantly impacting your quality of life or if you're experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, it's important to consult with a healthcare provider. They can evaluate your symptoms, rule out any other underlying causes, and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Link Between PCOS and Food Cravings

Almost all the women who suffer from PCOS are diagnosed with insulin resistance and experience food cravings. Insulin resistance caused by PCOS is accompanied by intense carbohydrate cravings, which may promote overeating. It is also important to identify what foods you crave with PCOS as it may give indication on how to manage the PCOS symptoms.

Women suffering from PCOS have a high chance of developing an eating disorder. For individuals who are obese and have PCOS, managing their lifestyle involves following a weight loss diet plan. This becomes particularly challenging when they experience frequent food cravings.

Tips to Manage Food Cravings in PCOS

Don’t Skip Meals

Skipping meals can disrupt your blood sugar levels, leading to cravings and overeating. It's important to have regular meals and snacks to maintain stable glucose levels and support balanced hormone production. This helps prevent excessive hunger and cravings for unhealthy foods. Adequate nutrition is crucial for managing PCOS symptoms and overall health. Remember, consulting a healthcare professional can provide personalised guidance on meal planning. Don't let skipping meals create a vicious cycle of cravings and poor blood sugar control.

Avoid Sugary and Processed Food

Minimise your intake of processed foods, sugary snacks, desserts, and sweetened beverages, as they can raise cravings and contribute to blood sugar fluctuations. Instead, choose whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible. (3)

Incorporate Protein in the Diet

Incorporate protein-rich foods such as chicken, fish, tofu, beans, lentils, and Greek yogurt into your meals and snacks. Protein helps increase satiety and reduce cravings. Additionally, choose fiber-rich carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, which can help keep you feeling full for longer.

Identify Triggers

Identify common triggers for your food cravings, such as stress, boredom, or specific situations or emotions. Once you're aware of your triggers, develop alternative coping strategies to address them without turning to food. For example, practice deep breathing, go for a walk, or engage in a hobby or activity you enjoy.

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water throughout the day, as dehydration can sometimes be mistaken for hunger. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day and consider drinking a glass of water before meals to help curb cravings.


Managing food cravings with PCOS requires a holistic approach. By understanding the underlying causes of mood swings and cravings, you can develop effective strategies to curb them. Regular exercise not only helps regulate hormone levels but also reduces cravings. Additionally, focusing on a balanced diet with adequate protein can help control PCOS sugar cravings.

It's important to avoid skipping meals and steer clear of sugary and processed foods, as they can worsen cravings and disrupt insulin levels. Lastly, considering an insulin-sensitising medication can be beneficial in managing PCOS cravings. By implementing these strategies, you can take control of your food cravings and improve your overall well-being.


How can I control my mood swings with PCOS?

To control mood swings with PCOS, maintain a balanced diet, engage in regular exercise, practice stress management techniques like meditation, prioritize adequate sleep, seek social support, and consider therapy or medication under healthcare provider guidance.

Which lifestyle is best for PCOS?

The best lifestyle for PCOS includes a balanced diet rich in whole foods, regular exercise incorporating both aerobic and strength training, stress management techniques, adequate sleep, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Why is PCOS so stressful?

PCOS can be stressful due to its physical symptoms, such as irregular periods and hirsutism, challenges with fertility, hormonal imbalances affecting mood, and the uncertainty of managing long-term health implications.

Soumil Vartak
Health and Fitness enthusiast

Soumil is really passionate about health and fitness. He provides great insight on various trends about health and fitness. By writing about these topics he try to provide key insight on diet and e... Read More


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