pcos weight gain
Metabolic Health

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) And Weight Gain

Polycystic ovary syndrome or more commonly known as PCOS, is a hormonal disorder that occurs among women in their reproductive age. It is an imbalance of female hormones which causes irregular or missed periods, cysts on ovaries or an excess of the male hormone. PCOS and obesity are also closely linked due to several reasons. 

PCOS is a lifestyle disorder and though the causes are unknown, it can lead to severe health issues like infertility, insulin resistance, increase in male hormones, heart diseases and diabetes. PCOS and obesity is the most common health issue but it can be controlled by making certain lifestyle changes. 

Why Does PCOS Cause Weight Gain ?

PCOS weight gain is a common symptom of hormonal imbalance among women of reproductive age. PCOS causes the body to underutilize insulin which causes insulin resistance. Insulin is used to break down various sugars in the body. Insulin resistance causes an increase of sugar in the bloodstream which then causes diabetes and other diseases. PCOS weight gain mainly occurs due to insulin resistance. 

PCOS weight gain causes a loop of obesity, irregular periods and hormonal imbalance which in turn cause obesity, which is why controlling this lifestyle disorder on time is crucial. 

What Are The Risks Associated With PCOS - Related Weight Gain?

Whatever the cause of PCOS obesity, sudden weight gain can be highly damaging to one’s health. People with PCOS obesity are at a high risk of contracting several diseases such as :

  • Diabetes type 2
  • Infertility
  • Increase in male hormones
  • High cholesterol and blood pressure 
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Heart disease 
  • Facial hair and cystic acne

However, PCOS obesity can be managed through consistent lifestyle changes. 

Type 2 Diabetes

Type two diabetes is a common risk associated with PCOS and weight gain. Insulin resistance caused by PCOS increases the build-up of sugar in the bloodstream which not only makes it harder to lose weight but can also cause type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes once developed can lead to other health issues and also become fatal. 

High Cholesterol

PCOS and weight gain are closely linked to each other. Estrogen , which occurs naturally in the female body, is known to raise the ‘good cholesterol levels’. During PCOS, there is an imbalance which causes high male hormones, making it difficult for women to produce enough estrogen. This naturally affects cholesterol levels, which coupled with PCOS and weight gain, leads to high cholesterol. 

High Blood Pressure

Excess androgens (male hormones) are the major cause of maximum health related issues with PCOS and weight gain. Excess androgens along with sudden weight gain also cause high blood pressure in people with PCOS. 

Sleep Apnea

It is known that increased weight causes several health issues, one of which is sleep apnea. Having PCOS can lead to the development of obstructive sleep apnea, a condition where it becomes difficult to breathe while sleeping, causing snoring and other respiratory issues. This is mainly caused by increased androgen and low estrogen levels as well as weight gain. 

Infertility

One of the biggest health risks associated with having PCOS is infertility. Since PCOS is a condition that occurs during childbearing years and in the reproductive organs, any amount of damage to these organs can cause low fertility or even infertility. For people who want to have children, managing PCOS at the right time is crucial.

Endometrial Cancer

The prolonged exposure of the endometrium to unopposed estrogen brought on by anovulation in PCOS is the primary factor contributing to the risk of endometrial cancer. Endometrial hyperplasia and endometrial cancer may result from this extended exposure.

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What Can I Do To Lose Weight If I Have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

Since PCOS and weight loss are so closely related, losing weight becomes very important in order to manage this condition. PCOS is not something to worry about as it can be greatly managed by making certain lifestyle changes and being consistent with them. 

The first thing to do in order to lose weight is assess your lifestyle and figure out any unhealthy habits that you may have so that step by step you can switch them out for healthy habits. Dietary changes, consistent workout and maintaining a good sleep schedule are crucial to managing PCOS. You may also consult a doctor and a nutritionist who can prescribe certain medications and help you formulate a diet plan that will make sure you get proper nutrients. 

High Fiber, Low Sugar Diet

For people with PCOS, it is recommended that they follow a high fiber, high protein diet which is low in carbohydrates and sugar. This diet helps control blood sugar as well as maintain body weight. Leafy vegetables, whole grains and superfoods should be consumed instead of fatty and sugary foods. 

Regular Exercise

Consistent workouts are the best way to maintain and manage the condition of PCOS. Regular exercise will help your body fight against insulin resistance, lose weight and manage and balance your hormones. Make a workout schedule for 30 minutes each day for at least 4 days a week. 

Avoid Drinking And Smoking

For people with PCOS, smoking and drinking are far more dangerous and can cause irreparable long term damage to organs. Completely cut down on smoking and consuming alcohol or significantly limit it to avoid any long term issues. 

How Do Other Treatments Work For PCOS

PCOS is a disorder with several alternative treatments that might help you reach your weight loss and hormone targets. Aside from dietary adjustments and regular exercise, there is a lot more a person may do to control PCOS. The best method is to visit a doctor, who will explain the intricacies of different treatment choices and assist you in making a decision.

Lifestyle Changes

Making certain lifestyle changes like maintaining a timely routine, eating and sleeping well and regularly working out are some of the best ways to manage PCOS. Lifestyle changes are the only way to ensure that this condition does not worsen and once you’re habituated to these, you will have a healthy life in the long run. With these lifestyle changes, other treatment options will tend to work better as well. 

Medications (Hormone Therapy)

PCOS causes lack of or irregular periods and consulting a doctor is the best way to figure out the right treatment for individual cases. They will prescribe medication that will help you regulate your periods and your menstrual cycle. Doctors also recommend hormone therapy which helps to balance hormones in the female body and ensure regular ovulation. A very common therapy is estrogen-progestin combination therapy which helps regular menstrual cycle. 

Surgery

Sometimes, medication does not work in certain cases of polycystic ovarian syndrome. In this case, your doctor might recommend a minor surgical procedure called laparoscopic ovarian drilling in which a laser is used to get rid of cysts on the ovaries. While this is effective, it is not high;y recommended as the chances of the cysts reforming on ovaries is still there. This is only done in extreme cases where medication and lifestyle changes make no difference to the PCOS condition. 

Bottomline

There are many risks associated with weight gain and PCOS in general. It is essential to understand the pros and cons of every method. Exercising and including a proper diet in your routine is the first step towards a healthier tomorrow. You can try the non-invasive methods if you have the time before you opt for methods that involve more risks. Although weight gain is a by-product of PCOS, you can overcome this challenge by perseverance. 

FAQs

Can PCOS cause rapid weight gain?

Yes, PCOS and obesity are linked and it can in certain cases, cause rapid weight gain among women. Women with PCOS and obesity have a harder time shedding this extra

weight as well. PCOS and obesity go hand in hand which is why it is important to fix this health issue soon. 

Why do PCOS patients gain weight?

In PCOS weight gain, the body has a harder time using the hormone insulin, which generally aids in converting the carbohydrates and starches in meals into energy. This issue, known as insulin resistance, can result in an accumulation of glucose and insulin in the circulation.

How can I fight my weight gain with PCOS?

PCOS obesity can be managed by making certain lifestyle changes like following a high protein diet, exercising regularly, managing weight and limiting the intake of foods high in sugar and oil. By consulting a specialist, you can manage your PCOS obesity.

How much weight do you gain with polycystic ovarian syndrome?

Having PCOS can cause sudden and significant weight gain if the condition is not managed properly. Due to PCOS, losing weight becomes hard and over the years a person can end up becoming obese due to lack of exercise and an ill managed condition.

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