PCOS and Obesity

Obesity has a profound effect on the clinical manifestation of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder affecting up to 50% of women in South Asia. About 50% of women with PCOS are overweight, and this increase in body weight has a major influence on the symptoms of PCOS and fertility. The main clinical features are menstrual cycle disturbance and an increase in male hormones (hyperandrogenism), causing acne, unwanted bodily and facial hair, and alopecia.

Every woman’s metabolism is unique and different in processing fat, sugar and calories. This is true of women with PCOS as well. Many women with PCOS eat a healthy diet and exercise religiously, but still have a problem with excess weight. Obviously, this is not a simple issue of caloric intake and lack of adequate activity. There is something about the way that their bodies process the food and calories that they consume which makes it difficult for them to maintain a healthy weight. This can be incredibly frustrating. Many researchers have theorized that this phenomenon is a result of insulin resistance, which is very common in women with PCOS.

Upto 70% of PCOS women are insulin resistant which means the glucose metabolism does not happen how it should actually be. When the level of blood sugar is high pancreas keeps secreting more and more insulin to nullify this and as a result, the body stops responding to the insulin and the excess glucose start accumulating as fat. This is an extremely serious issue because the effects do not stop with Obesity; it makes us more susceptible to type 2 diabetes at a younger age and in some cases gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

Though it may be unclear if obesity does cause PCOS, but it is a proven fact that obesity exacerbates the PCOS condition and its symptoms. Studies have proven than reducing even 10% of the body weight can be very effective in regulating the menstrual cycle and the ovulation. Reducing weight can eventually reduce the androgen levels and relieve you of some of the embarrassing symptom like acne and facial hair. Doctors agree and recommend that weight reduction makes infertility treatments to be more effective.

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