If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), you aren’t alone! In fact, 1 in 10 women are affected by PCOS. Difficulty losing weight is one of the most commonly well-known factors associated with this disorder. The good news is that weight loss with PCOS is possible and will not only relieve symptoms but also improve your overall health. Let’s take a closer look at PCOS, weight loss, and how our experienced healthcare professionals at Dr. Simonds Metabolics and Weight Loss can help you achieve your weight loss goals.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal disorder that is extremely common among women who are in their reproductive stage of life. In its simplest form, your hormones are out of balance, which can affect your ability to lose weight and have children.
Causes of PCOS
The exact cause of PCOS remains unknown. However, researchers have found that these factors may play a role in women who develop this disorder of the female reproductive system:
- Genetics – Studies have identified certain genes that may be linked to PCOS. There seems to be a higher chance of developing PCOS if a close female relative such as your mother, sister, or aunt has been diagnosed with the disorder.
- High-levels of androgens (class of hormones that testosterone falls into) – Can reduce normal ovarian function by inhibiting ovulation
- Inflammation – Low-grade inflammation throughout the body can cause polycystic ovaries to produce excessive levels of androgens
- High-levels of insulin – Can increase androgen (testosterone) production
Common Symptoms of PCOS
There is a common notion that all women with PCOS have cysts on their ovaries. While this is true for some, many women actually do not experience ovarian cysts. The most common symptoms include:
- Infrequent periods – Fewer than 9 periods per year
- Irregular periods – Periods that come at shorter or longer intervals
- Heavier than normal periods – Increased flow
- Prolonged cycles – More than 35 days in between periods
- Increased levels of androgen – Can cause physical signs such as excess facial hair, body hair, acne, and even male-pattern baldness
Women who do experience cystic ovaries typically have enlarged ovaries with follicles that encapsulate the eggs. This can hinder the normal function of the ovaries and affect fertility.
How Can PCOS Affect Women?
Despite its name, PCOS affects more than just a woman’s ovaries. It has an effect on overall health. Let’s take a closer look at the ways that PCOS can affect a woman’s health:
Higher rates of infertility – Due to hormonal imbalance and inhibited ovarian function, women with PCOS can have a more difficult time becoming pregnant and carrying a child to full time. The risk of miscarriage and premature birth is higher with PCOS.
- Liver inflammation – This is non-alcohol related inflammation that is the result of fat accumulation in the liver.
- Increased risk of cardiovascular disease – Precursors to cardiovascular disease include high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, and increased levels of cholesterol.
- Increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes
- Increases instances of emotional disorders – Can include depression and anxiety
One of the most talked-about and frustrating ways that PCOS affects women is that it can increase the chances of obesity and makes losing weight more difficult.
Why Is It Difficult to Lose Weight with PCOS?
Women with PCOS tend to have a more difficult time losing weight than those without the disorder. This is due to no fault of their own and can happen despite the best eating and exercising habits. What are the factors that can hinder weight loss?
Increased Fat Storage
Due to excess insulin, your body signals that fat storage is necessary. This leads to weight gain primarily in the abdomen.
Not only does insulin promote fat storage but it also acts as an appetite stimulant. This means that women with PCOS can unknowingly consume a much larger number of calories than is needed to maintain or lose weight. This leads to weight gain.
Hormone imbalances can hinder your appetite-regulating hormones including ghrelin, cholecystokinin, and leptin. This can make it difficult to know when you are actually hungry or full and satisfied. This can impede weight loss efforts.
Side Effects of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a medical disorder that happens when your upper airway is blocked during sleep, which causes a lack of oxygen. It is more common in individuals affected by overweight and obesity. It can cause drowsiness during the day as well as high blood pressure, which in turn, can lead to weight gain.
Importance of Losing Weight with PCOS
Striving to lose weight will not only improve your PCOS symptoms but improve your overall health. Weight loss improves insulin resistance, helps regulate hormones, and may even increase fertility and restore ovarian function. Reduced acne, facial hair, and body hair are other symptoms that can be achieved by weight loss.
Your overall health will also be positively affected by weight loss. Benefits include a decreased risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. Many women see an improvement in their emotional health and go on to experience healthier, full-term pregnancies.
Get the Support You Need to Succeed
Having PCOS doesn’t mean you have to live with excess weight. The team at Dr. Simonds Metabolics and Weight Loss understands the struggles associated with PCOS and weight loss. Their compassionate team has a vast amount of experience helping women lose weight and understand that many factors inhibiting weight loss are out of your control.
We have helped many women with PCOS reach their weight loss goals. Every woman is different, which is why we are not a one-size-fits-all program. Instead, we take the time to get to know you, your goals, and your medical history. We then devise a weight loss plan that will work for you. Our plans include easy-to-follow meal plans, weight loss medication, one-on-one support, and encouragement throughout the entire process. Our online community is made up of people just like you who are ready to show support and share helpful tips and advice from their weight loss journey.
Our experienced health professionals are ready to help you reach your weight loss goals and become the healthiest version of you! Contact us today for more information to get started on your very own custom plan!