Weight gain is a worldwide problem that affects many people at some point during their life.
Yet, for women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS, dealing with those extra pounds can be a frustrating lifetime struggle.
This article explores the relationship between PCOS and weight gain and shows you how to manage this condition and minimize its negative effects.
Up to twelve percent of women in the United States suffer from PCOS, making it one of the leading factors resulting in irregular menstrual cycles and infertility.
Women with PCOS have higher levels of male hormones or androgens and are less sensitive to insulin.
This hormonal imbalance creates multiple tiny cysts in the ovaries that can interfere with the menstrual cycle and trigger excess body hair growth, acne, oily skin, and male type baldness.
Yet, the PCOS symptom that makes things even more complicated is weight gain and obesity.
More than half of patients living with PCOS suffer from excess weight; as a result, those with PCOS are at a greater risk of heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, fatty liver, and other health problems.
Read on to learn how PCOS can affect your weight and what changes you can make in your lifestyle to reduce the severity of the symptoms.
How does PCOS affect your weight?
If you live with PCOS, you most likely have a condition called insulin resistance.
It means your body is having trouble using insulin, the hormone responsible for converting starches and sugars from food to energy.
When this happens, insulin and sugars accumulate in your bloodstream and stimulate the production of androgens. These lead to unwanted body hair growth, acne, irregular menstrual cycles, and weight gain.
As weight gain in PCOS patients is triggered by male hormones, the added pounds would typically be located in the abdominal area, where men usually carry the extra pounds.
The problem here is that abdominal fat is dangerous since it is associated with heart disease and other medical issues related to obesity like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, infertility, and endometrial cancer.
Additionally, the above symptoms may negatively affect emotions resulting in anxiety or depression.
How is PCOS diagnosed?
PCOS can be transmitted through genes.
Therefore, people who have a mother or a sister with PCOS have a higher chance of developing the disease.
Physicians generally confirm PCOS diagnosis if at least two out of these three issues are found: multiple tiny cysts in the ovaries, irregular periods, and high androgen levels.
They also check for other indicators like acne, face and body hair growth, and weight.
What can you do?
The most common advice given by healthcare providers to patients with PCOS is weight loss. Losing just ten percent of your body weight will relieve many PCOS symptoms. However, this may not be an easy task as the extra insulin promotes fat storage and raises hunger.
Hence, to help with the weight-loss process, try incorporating healthy habits into your diet routine. Eat a high-fiber diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and avoid processed, sugary, and fatty foods.
Exercise for at least half an hour per day most days and get enough night sleep.
Depending on your case, your doctor may also prescribe medication. These include birth control pills, anti-androgen medicament, and diabetes drugs that aid the body use insulin more efficiently.
Do not hesitate to contact a specialist for help. At the Silhouette Clinic, we understand it can be frustrating when PCOS makes it difficult to lose weight. Contact us now or give us a call at 301-288-1319. Our team of professionals is ready to offer you customized counseling to overcome the challenges and to assist you in achieving your goals towards a healthier, better you.