Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal condition found in women. In this disorder, the tissues of a female body stop using the insulin produced by the pancreas efficiently, further leading to irregular periods, excess androgen levels, weight gain, etc. Due to this reason, women who get diagnosed with PCOS experience a lot of hair growth on the face and body, acne around the jawline, cheeks and chin, darkening of the skin, and sudden increase in weight in the abdominal area. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr Manisha Singh, Senior Consultant - Gynaecologist & Reproductive Medicine, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore, about the relationship between PCOS and obesity and ways to cope up with it.
Relationship between PCOS and obesity
Many women have a pressumed notion that PCOS or PCOD is caused by obesity. However, these conditions and obesity do not have a direct relationship with each other. Not all women who have PCOS are obese, but it can get difficult for them to maintain their weight. It is directly connected to a your metabolic rate. The polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health condition and its main characteristic is hyperandrogenism and chronic oligo-anovulation. There are many other features of the metabolic syndrome that are inconsistently obeserved in most of the women with PCOS. Around 50% of women with PCOD are obese but not all of them. Even lean women can suffer from this condition.
Insulin has natural gonadotrophic function and an increased insulin production at the level of ovarian tissue can also lead to androgen synthesis. Obesity, especially the abdominal phenotype may be partially responsible for insulin resistance and is strongly related to hyperinsulinemia in women who have PCOS. Thus, obesity-related hyperinsulinemia can play a major role in an increase of hyperandrogenism in these women.
Ways to cope up with obesity in PCOS
Losing weight is difficult but it can be more challenging for women who have polycystic ovarian syndrome. Women with PCOS suffer from issues related to hormonal imbalances which can lead to poor metabolisation of food, and thus, make it very hard to lose weight. According to Dr. Manisha, here are some ways to cope up with obesity in PCOS:
1. Eat small and frequent meals
Avoiding big meals can be very beneficial in controlling obesity with PCOS/PCOD. Eating smaller and frequent meals can give you a sense of variety. Moreover, eating frequent meals provides satiety for longer hours. This improves your metabolism, thus managing both obesity and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Frequent meals provide nourishment to the body and prevents release of extra sugars. Small and frequent meals help you in losing weight in a healthier way, unlike fasting.
2. Physical activity
Exercise is very essential along with the right food. You must include both the exercises where you heat up your body and increase heart rate like cardio. They help in the maintenance of your metabolic rate. You should also include exercises that increase flexibility and strength in the body. These exercises also help in maintaining muscle fat ratio in the body. Even a brisk walk can be beneficial for your body and help in losing weight with PCOS. However, let your body sweat and workout for atleast 45 minutes to one hour.
Also read: 5 Natural Remedies To Reverse PCOS Symptoms
3. Avoid sugar and refined carbs
You must take care that you limit your sugar intake. Most sugars in the body are converted to fats and get stored in the body. You should also avoid lots of carbs in your food. You can easily replace it with protein, watery fruits, vegetables and fibre. Having high sugar foods and refined carbs can slow down your metabolism and make you gain even more weight. You can talk to your dietician about consuming a healthy diet that includes all the essential nutrients such as healthy fats and protein.
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