The relationship between PCOS and obesity is complex and involves multiple factors, including hormonal imbalances, insulin resistance, and lifestyle choices.
Weight loss is often an important component in the management of PCOS, as it can help improve hormonal balance, reduce insulin resistance, regulate menstrual cycles, and alleviate some of the symptoms associated with the condition.
Today, the heart of our discussion will be about PCOS and weight loss. We will provide you with the facts about PCOS and talk about the treatments that are available to manage the associated symptoms. Finally, we will offer non-invasive options that work best for PCOS weight loss.
What Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder that affects up to 15% of women of reproductive age. It is typically characterized by the presence of small cysts on the ovaries, along with various other symptoms related to hormonal imbalances.
The exact cause of PCOS is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. One of the main underlying issues in PCOS is an overproduction of androgens, which are male hormones that are normally present in women in smaller amounts.
PCOS presents itself differently in each woman, making diagnosis challenging, but some of the most common symptoms include:
- Irregular menstrual cycles: Women with PCOS often experience infrequent, absent, or prolonged menstrual cycles, or they may experience unpredictable bleeding;
- Ovarian cysts: The ovaries of women with PCOS may contain multiple small cysts, which are fluid-filled sacs;
- Excessive hair growth or hair loss: Due to the higher levels of androgens, women with PCOS may notice unwanted hair growth on their face, chest, back, or abdomen. Some women experience thinning hair or significant hair loss similar to male-pattern baldness;
- Acne and oily skin: Elevated androgen levels can lead to acne breakouts and excessively oily skin;
- Insulin resistance: Many women with PCOS experience insulin resistance, which means their bodies have difficulty using insulin effectively. This can lead to high blood sugar levels and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Weight gain and difficulty losing weight: Many women with PCOS struggle with weight management due to insulin resistance and hormonal imbalances.
- Mood swings and depression: Hormonal fluctuations associated with PCOS can lead to mood swings, irritability, and even depression.
- Fertility problems: The hormonal imbalances and irregular ovulation in PCOS can make it challenging for women to conceive.
In addition to these symptoms, PCOS is also linked to an increased risk of developing other health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and sleep apnea.
Available Treatments For PCOS
While there is no cure for PCOS, the symptoms can be managed through various approaches. The specific treatment approach may vary depending on the individual’s symptoms, goals, and preferences. Here is a general overview of the treatments for PCOS, listed in order from first line to last resort:
- Lifestyle modifications are usually the first line of treatment for PCOS. It includes changes in diet and exercise to promote weight loss, improve insulin sensitivity, and manage hormone levels. A low-glycemic-index diet, which focuses on consuming complex carbohydrates and avoiding processed sugars, may be recommended. Regular physical activity and weight loss can help regulate menstrual cycles, reduce androgen levels, and even improve fertility;
- Oral contraceptives are often prescribed to regulate menstrual cycles and manage hormonal imbalances in women with PCOS. They can help reduce androgen levels, control acne, and excessive hair growth, and protect the uterine lining against abnormal cell growth;
- Insulin-regulating medications like metformin, typically used to treat type 2 diabetes, may be prescribed to improve insulin sensitivity in women with PCOS. By reducing insulin resistance, these medications can help regulate menstrual cycles, lower androgen levels, and regulate the reproductive cycle;
- Fertility medications such as clomiphene citrate or letrozole may be used to induce ovulation if pregnancy is desired or may be accompanied by IVF treatments (in vitro fertilization) if the medications alone are not successful;
- Ovarian drilling is a surgical procedure that involves laparoscopically creating tiny wounds, or “drill holes,” in the ovarian tissue. This process destroys a small portion of the ovarian follicles, reduces androgen production, improves hormonal balance, and promotes regular ovulation;
- Endometrial ablation or hysterectomy are surgical interventions that are sometimes suggested as a last resort for managing heavy or irregular menstrual bleeding that does not respond to other treatments. Neither of these drastic treatments will address PCOS, and they will remove the possibility of a future pregnancy.
PCOS And Weight Management: The Struggle Is Real
PCOS and obesity are often interconnected and can influence each other in several ways. While not all individuals with PCOS are obese, there is a higher prevalence of overweight and obesity among women with PCOS compared to the general population.
The link between PCOS and obesity forms a cycle where obesity can worsen PCOS symptoms and PCOS can make weight management more challenging. Recent studies report that approximately one-half or more women who suffer from PCOS are overweight or obese, and experts have been studying the connection between PCOS and a woman with a higher BMI (body mass index) for many decades.
In women with PCOS, incremental weight gain increases the severity of their insulin resistance, but conversely, losing weight can help bring their insulin levels to more manageable levels.
PCOS: Does Suture Sculpt ESG Help? Ask Dr. Batash
Dr. Batash explains the correlation between undergoing a non-surgical weight loss procedure like Suture Sculpt and improvement in polycystic ovary syndrome.
The Role Of Weight Loss For PCOS Symptoms
Anyone who has tried to lose weight can understand how frustratingly challenging it can be, but for women with PCOS, it is even more of an uphill battle. If we look at this condition more as a metabolic disorder than a gynecological condition, it becomes clear that the treatment that is best for PCOS is weight loss.
The question then becomes, “Is there such a thing as an effective PCOS weight loss plan?” The answer is yes! It does not involve a fad, crash diet, or surgery but rather ongoing lifestyle changes that help you achieve sustainable weight loss.
Losing weight can help improve hormonal balance, reduce insulin resistance, regulate menstrual cycles, and alleviate some of the symptoms associated with PCOS.
Here are some strategies for weight loss for women with PCOS:
- Adopting a balanced and nutritious diet is crucial for weight loss in PCOS. Focus on consuming whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Limit processed foods, sugary snacks, and beverages. Consider a low-glycemic-index diet, which emphasizes foods that have a minimal impact on blood sugar levels;
- Be mindful of portion sizes to prevent overeating. Use smaller plates and bowls to help control portion sizes visually. Listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues;
- Aim for regular and consistent meals throughout the day. Eating smaller, balanced meals every few hours can help stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent excessive hunger or overeating;
- Engage in regular physical activity to support weight loss and improve insulin sensitivity. Choose activities that you enjoy and can maintain long-term, such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or strength training exercises. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, along with two or more days of strength training;
- High-stress levels can contribute to weight gain and hormonal imbalances. Practice stress-reducing techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or engaging in hobbies that help you relax and unwind;
- Prioritize getting sufficient sleep, as inadequate sleep can disrupt hormone regulation and increase cravings for unhealthy foods. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night;
- Find a qualified weight loss doctor who understands the relationship between PCOS and weight management. Weight loss can be more challenging for these women due to underlying hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance. An obesity-trained expert can provide guidance, effective solutions for weight management, and accountability.
How Can A Weight Loss Center Help Me With PCOS?
Getting help from an expert like Dr. Steven Batash can provide women with PCOS relief from their symptoms through sustainable weight loss.
His expertise in obesity management can help identify and address the underlying causes of obesity with a combination of innovative solutions and personalized programs. Non-surgical weight loss tools, a comprehensive support system, and lifestyle coaching work together to help patients improve their health and achieve their weight loss goals.
Additionally, patients with PCOS may benefit from weight loss medications such as Semaglutide which help reduce appetite, increase feelings of fullness, and improve insulin sensitivity.
These weekly prescription injections have been shown to be an option for PCOS weight loss. Medications that are normally prescribed for PCOS merely treat the symptoms and do not address the root cause of obesity.
The Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss Center in NYC can create a customized weight loss plan that considers your PCOS diagnosis. They will help you set realistic goals, develop a balanced meal plan, and create an exercise program that suits your preferences and physical abilities. Your personalized program will also take into account the hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance associated with PCOS to develop strategies to address and overcome these challenges so you can achieve your weight loss goals.
As part of your weight loss plan, you will receive support from a team of professionals that will help monitor your progress, make adjustments if necessary, and keep you on track.
Bariatric Surgery For PCOS Weight Loss
Research has indicated that bariatric surgery can have a positive effect on reducing or eliminating symptoms related to PCOS. Most studies found that most patients were successful in achieving a significantly lower BMI about 12 months after their bariatric surgery. Five different studies reported that almost all of the participants were able to stop taking their prescriptions for cholesterol-related conditions and high blood pressure, and several studies reported that patients experienced the full restoration of their menstrual cycle. One study went on to report that many women seeking to become pregnant naturally conceived after the restoration of their menstrual cycle.
While the findings of these studies are encouraging, undergoing bariatric surgery is a daunting undertaking for most and comes with elevated risks, potential complications, and a long recovery time. What if you do not qualify or do not wish to undergo a drastic surgical procedure? What if you could get the same result of significant weight loss without surgery?
Good news! Undergoing a non-surgical endoscopic procedure for weight loss for PCOS can offer the same metabolic benefits as bariatric surgery.
What Works Best For PCOS Weight Loss?
Both Suture Sculpt endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG) and the Orbera gastric balloon are minimally invasive weight loss procedures that have been proven to offer significant weight loss results. They can be used to treat obesity, and they offer potential benefits for women with PCOS, including:
- Weight loss;
- Hormonal regulation;
- Improved insulin sensitivity;
- Menstrual regularity;
- Improves fertility;
- Improved emotional well-being.
Will I See Improvements In Symptoms Of PCOS After Weight Loss In 1 Month?
While it is possible to see improvements in PCOS symptoms after losing weight, the timeline can vary for each individual. Some women may notice changes within a month, while others may take longer to see significant improvements. The rate and extent of improvement depend on various factors, including the amount of weight lost, individual metabolic factors, and the specific symptoms experienced.
Get The Help You Need For Weight Loss With PCOS
If you find yourself exhausted and frustrated from trying to lose weight on your own, it may be time to seek professional help from the Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss Center in NYC. With their proven expertise in weight loss, they can provide the guidance and support you need to reach your goals effectively.
Dr. Batash understands that weight loss can be a challenging journey, and his team of professionals will work closely with you to develop a personalized plan tailored to your specific needs and circumstances. Whether it’s through nutritional guidance, exercise recommendations, or other evidence-based strategies, the team at Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss Center can help you navigate the obstacles and maintain motivation on your weight loss journey.
Contact us today and set up a consultation to learn more about how we can work together to create a plan for sustainable weight loss to improve your health and your metabolic symptoms related to PCOS.