Women with PCOS May Benefit from Weight Loss Treatments Before Conceiving

Women suffering from obesity or who are overweight often endure a range of health problems. It is well known that obesity can put you on the path to serious illness such as heart disease and stroke, blood pressure problems, Diabetes, certain kinds of cancers and various breathing problems that can affect normal sleep cycles.

What is PCOS?

PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a condition where a woman’s ovaries continually produce benign cysts. Many women with PCOS are obese or overweight.

This can be caused by several factors that include genetics, but it is also linked to an underlying source: hormonal imbalances.

In women with PCOS, their ovaries make more androgens than normal – a hormone most often associated with males, but that females also make. These high levels of androgens affect the release of the eggs during ovulation and cause a variety of symptoms including:

  • Infertility problems
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Obesity
  • Irregular or prolonged heavy menstrual periods
  • Excessive facial and body hair
  • Insulin resistance in some women – a pre-diabetic condition in which the blood glucose levels are stabilized by creating higher amounts of insulin
  • Skin tags and dark patches
  • Anxiety or Depression
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Sleep Apnea

NIH Study

The National Institute of Health (NIH) recently published a study showing that obese women with PCOS who go through a significant weight loss treatment will better increase their chances of pregnancy: 187 obese and overweight women with PCOS were treated with Clomiphene, a drug that induces ovulation while another group of 142 women with PCOS began a weight loss program that was comprised of a combination of a lower caloric intake, exercise and anti-obesity medication – before they began the Clomiphene.

The women who did the weight loss program had a 62 % ovulation rate and a 25 % live birth rate over the women who were treated with the Clomiphene only, who had a 44.7 % ovulation rate and a birth rate of 10.2 %.

This finding could be significant in improving the health of women who suffer from PCOS and as a result have problems with fertility. Encouraging exercise and weight loss tactics in combination with medication will also help to alleviate the debilitating mental health effects of PCOS as well.

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