The Link Between PCOS And Weight Gain

Did you know that polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the leading cause of female infertility in the United States? At least 5 million women in the country are affected by PCOS. Polycystic ovarian syndrome is the result of a hormonal imbalance. The exact cause of this hormonal imbalance is not clear. 

Available research, however, is pointing to a genetic link within families. What this means is that women with relatives who have suffered from PCOS have a higher risk of developing the condition than women whose families have no history of the disease.

As a specialist OB/GYN, Michelle M. Starke, MD, LLC, in Coral Gables, Florida, is passionate about helping women learn about this condition and how to best live with it. Here is what she wants you to know about PCOS and weight gain.

The relationship between PCOS and weight gain

Studies show that 40-80% of women suffering from PCOS have also been classified as obese or overweight. While there is a high correlation between being overweight and having PCOS, there are women who are within the normal weight range who still suffer from PCOS.

Sadly, a lot of women have been led to believe that they suffer from PCOS simply because they are overweight. This isn’t altogether true. Polycystic ovary syndrome on its own is not a determining factor in weight gain. This has been proved by the fact that the prevalence of obesity among women living with PCOS globally is relatively low. Only 20% of women worldwide suffering from PCOS are overweight.

Weight gain in women with PCOS has largely been attributed to the development of insulin resistance in the body. Furthermore, because of the hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS, women might find themselves hungrier and therefore prone to eat more. But there are other factors that can contribute to weight gain, too. Researchers have found that environmental factors, such as lifestyle, can contribute more to someone gaining weight than merely having PCOS. 

Is it a good idea for me to lose weight?

If you have a high Body Mass Index, losing weight would be a good idea for many health reasons. Furthermore, since PCOS can lead to infertility, many women with PCOS have found that losing weight has helped them get pregnant.

Losing weight can do many things for women with PCOS. It can aid in regulating hormonal imbalances, which may lead to a more regular period, and, therefore, higher chances of getting pregnant. Losing weight can also decrease your chances of developing diabetes, sleep apnea, uterine cancer, and heart diseases.

The sensitive nature of this condition means that many women may shy away from discussing PCOS with their health care providers. Here at Michelle M. Starke, MD, LLC, we offer women a safe environment for them to open up and share their struggles. If you need help, book an appointment over the phone today.

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