Girls and women with Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) have problems losing weight. Unlike other women, having PCOS makes it difficult to lose weight. Weight loss is the main stay for PCOS management
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common condition encountered in young women. This is due to abnormal functioning of the ovaries and excess male hormones. Most women do not have symptoms.
What are the Signs and symptoms of PCOS?
Women present with different symptoms and the severity can vary. Some of the signs and symptoms of PCOS are mentioned below:
- Irregular or absent menstrual periods
- Weight gain
- Difficulty getting pregnant (infertility)
- Excessive hair growth, usually over face and chest (Hirsutism)
- Thinning of hair over scalp
In young adults, PCOS is quite distressing leading to irregular periods, hirsutism and infertility.
What happens if PCOS is not treated?
If PCOS is not appropriately managed, research shows that in later years, women with PCOS can develop Type 2 Diabetes, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnoea and are at risk of cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke.
Why do women with PCOS struggle to lose weight?
To lose weight, one needs to reduce calorie intake and increase activity. However, in women with PCOS, reducing calorie intake is very difficult as their hunger pattern is altered due to changes in the levels of insulin and other appetite-regulating hormones like ghrelin, cholecystokinin etc.
How does losing weight help women with PCOS?
Most women with PCOS have insulin resistance, excess male hormones like testosterone and altered appetite-regulating hormones.
Weight loss helps reduce insulin resistance and reduces insulin levels in the body. This in turn helps reduce craving for carbohydrates. However, the pathophysiology of weight gain in women with PCOS is much more complex.
Reduction in insulin and adipose tissue also helps reduce male hormones and hunger pattern/satiety
Effective weight management in PCOS
Weight loss improves the condition. However, comprehensive management that is personalized to their needs is required for long-term benefits. A very low-calorie diet helps with weight loss. Weight loss however is not sustained and some women gain more weight than they have lost after they discontinue a very low-calorie diet.
Weight management is not just about reducing the calories consumed and increasing activity, there are a number of other factors involved which is why women with PCOS find it difficult to lose weight.
Understanding underlying endocrine problems and hunger pattern help in providing a personalized long-term solution.
Please contact us if you need more information about our specialist weight management program for women with PCOS.
Watch our video on the Weight Loss for PCOS plan