polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and weight gain

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If you’ve been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), you might have noticed that waist number have scaled up no matter what you do and that is really annoying. For women with the polycystic ovary, shedding off extra pounds becomes a constant struggle.

Polycystic ovary syndrome is most commonly found hormonal disorder among childbearing age women, which can also result in issues related to fertility.

Gaining weight is one of the most common symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS. This happens because women with PCOS have higher levels of male hormones and the body has difficulty in using insulin or become insulin resistant. As a result, many women are overweight or obese and can be at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, and uterine cancer.

How polycystic ovary syndrome causes weight gain?

Polycystic ovary syndrome makes the body insulin resistant, which means body loses its capability to use the hormone insulin. This hormone helps in breaking down starches and sugars from the food to produce energy. The condition is called insulin resistant that can cause insulin and sugar- glucose to accumulate in the bloodstream.

A presence of high insulin levels leads to the production of male hormones called androgens. Higher levels of androgen cause symptoms including acne, hair growth, irregular periods and weight gain. As the weight gain has been stimulated by male hormones, so the fat build up is more in the abdomen, where men likely to put on weight. Hence women with PCOS will have more of an apple shape, instead of the pear shape.

Building up fat in the abdomen is the most dangerous type of fat. This is because it is linked with higher chances of getting heart disease and other health conditions.

Risks associated with PCOS-linked weight gain?

Women who are suffering from PCOS are more prone to develop many health problems along with weight gain and insulin resistance, such as:

  • High cholesterol
  • Sleep apnea
  • Infertility
  • High blood pressure
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Type 2 diabetes

       Most of the above-given health condition can lead to heart disease. Women who have PCOS are four to seven times more prone to get a heart attack than women of the same age without PCOS.

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all you need to know about polycystic ovary syndrome (Pcos)

pcos-cysts

What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) or Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD)?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health related problem which usually affects women’s:

  • Appearance
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Hormones
  • Ability to bear children
  • Heart
  • Blood vessels

Women suffering from PCOS/PCOD will have these signs given below:

  • Many small cysts in their ovaries along with fluid filled sacs.
  • Secretion of higher levels of male hormones, “androgens.”
  • Irregular pattern of periods (menstrual cycle).

What the major causes of PCOS?

Although the actual causes of PCOS are not known according to the experts, several factors such as genetics could result to this condition. Women suffering from PCOS are expected to have a sister or mother with the same syndrome.

The major problem related to PCOS is a hormonal imbalance. Women’s ovaries in this condition produce more androgen than normal. Androgens are male hormones that females also produce. High levels production of these hormones influences the development as well as the release of eggs during ovulation.

What high levels of androgen can result in?

  • Excessive hair growth (facial)
  • Weight gain
  • Acne
  • Problems with ovulation

What is the ratio of women with PCOS?

Every 1 woman in 10 and 1 in 20 women at their childbearing age suffer from PCOS. It can even victimize a girl as young as 11 years old.

Signs and Symptoms of PCOS or PCOD

The appearance of symptoms can vary from one woman to another. Some common signs of the polycystic ovary syndrome are given below:

  • Absence, infrequent, or irregular menstrual periods
  • Infertility because of a hindrance in ovulation process.
  • Increased hair growth on the chest, face, stomach, thumbs, back, or legs.
  • Pelvic pain
  • Acne, dandruff, or oily skin
  • Thinning hair or male-pattern baldness
  • Cysts on the ovaries
  • Weight gain or obesity
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Excess flaps of skin in the armpits or around neck area

How to diagnose PCOS?

No single test can diagnose PCOS, Health expert has to take several steps to confirm whether you have PCOS or the symptoms are because of something else.

Medical History – Doctor will ask you questions about your menstrual periods, weight alteration, and other relevant symptoms.

Physical examination – Doctor will check your blood pressure, waist size, and body mass index (BMI). The doctor will also check the area where hair growth has increased.

Pelvic examination – Doctor might check if your ovaries have grown enlarged or swollen because of the increased number of small cysts.

Blood tests – Through your blood tests, the doctor may check the level androgen hormone or glucose.

Ultrasound – Doctor may carry out a test that uses sound waves to visualize your pelvic area. It is used to examine your ovaries for cysts and check the endometrium.

What are treatments for PCOS?

Due to unavailability of any permanent cure for PCOS, it has to be managed to avoid further problems. Treatments are based on your symptoms, urge to get pregnant, and reducing the chances of you getting diabetes and heart disease. Many women have to undergo the combination of treatments to meet these goals.

Here are the treatments:

Changing lifestyle – Most of the women with PCOS are obese or overweight, which can lead to different health problems. You can manage PCOS by opting healthy eating and exercising daily to keep your perfect weight managed.

  •       Include more fruits, vegetables, whole-grain products and lean meats in your daily diet.
  • Birth control pills can reduce the production of male hormone, control menstrual cycles and help to reduce acne.

Fertility drugs – Infertility in a woman with PCOS is usually due to the lack of ovulation. Several drugs are available that can trigger ovulation and hence help women to get pregnant. IVF – In vitro fertilization is another option that offers the best opportunity for women to become pregnant in given cycle. But, this process is very costly.

Surgery – The chance of ovulation can also increase with the help of surgery which is called as “Ovarian drilling”. This surgery can lower down the production of male hormones and help with ovulation.

Various drugs are available in the market for increased hair growth or male hormones. These medicines are called as anti-androgens and it can reduce hair growth as well as acne.

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