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Weight Loss with PCOS

PCOS & Weight Loss: How Losing Weight Can Treat the Symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

By Dr. Tina Thomas | September 18, 2023

September is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) awareness month and according to Cleveland Clinic between 40%-80% of people with PCOS live with obesity.

For women who suffer from PCOS and obesity simultaneously, research shows that weight loss can help to reduce or better manage their symptoms such as irregular menstrual cycles, infertility, high levels of male hormones (which can cause excess hair growth and acne) and ovarian cysts. PCOS is also associated with insulin resistance, which can lead to weight gain and increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Insulin is the hormone responsible for regulating the amount of sugar in our blood and insulin resistance is when the body doesn’t respond properly to insulin and causes high blood sugar and weight gain. 

How Does Weight Loss Help?

By lowering blood sugar levels, improving insulin resistance and helping hormones reach normal levels, losing weight and achieving a body mass index, or BMI, of 18.5 through 24.9 can help to relieve PCOS symptoms like irregular periods, excess body hair, infertility, and hair loss. For those who suffer from PCOS and have had significant weight gain or obesity, both surgical - gastric sleeve or gastric bypass - and prescription based weight loss medications are options.  

At New Jersey Bariatric Center we understand that losing weight is not as simple as calories in and calories out. A comprehensive approach is an effective way to achieve long term sustainable weight loss. Weight loss surgery, gastric sleeve and gastric bypass, is proven to reduce weight and improve overall health. Both work to reset hunger hormones. Patients who undergo gastric sleeve surgery can lose about 40-70% of their excess body weight. Patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery typically lose around 60-80% of their excess body weight. Along with losing weight, both procedures can also result in the resolution of conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and other PCOS symptoms. 

When coupled with healthy eating habits, exercise and physician support, prescription weight loss medications like Wegovy™, Qsymia™ and Saxenda™ also help to achieve weight loss and alleviate symptoms of PCOS.

For more information about how losing weight can help with PCOS, give us a call at 908-481-1270 to talk to our bariatric surgery and prescription weight loss experts. 

References:

  • Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome): Symptoms & treatment. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8316-polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos 
  • Christ JP, Falcone T. Bariatric surgery improves hyperandrogenism, menstrual irregularities, and metabolic dysfunction among women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Obes Surg. 2018;28(8):2171-2177
  • The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 107, Issue 8, August 2022, Pages e3217–e3229, doi.org/10.1210/clinem/dgac294
  • Lee R, Joy Mathew C, Jose M, et al. (October 05, 2020) A Review of the Impact of Bariatric Surgery in Women With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Cureus 12(10): e10811. doi:10.7759/cureus.10811
Dr. Thomas is board certified in general surgery and surgical critical care, with specialty training in advanced minimally invasive general and bariatric surgery. Dr. Thomas elected to attend medical school in India and graduated with distinction. She completed her general surgery residency at the University of Connecticut, where she received awards for resident excellence and leadership by example. Dr. Thomas has completed two fellowships, in surgical critical care and advanced minimally invasive and bariatric surgery, from the University of Michigan and Hackensack University Medical Center respectively.
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