Obesity and PCOS: Are they inter-related?

According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, nearly 30% of the world’s population is either obese or overweight. When considering PCOS, the exact prevalence is not known due to the disorder not being defined properly. The global prevalence of PCOS is highly variable and is estimated to be ranging from 2.2% to as high as 26%.

Does PCOS cause Obesity or is it the other way around?
PCOS (Polycystic ovarian syndrome) is a hormonal imbalance that occurs in women, which leads to the growth of ovarian cysts. Obesity is a well-defined condition characterised by excess body fat and increasing gain in weight. The relationship between the two still remains complicated and quite difficult to understand. With PCOS, women produce too much insulin or the produced insulin is not working as it should. The incompetence of insulin to function is the major reason for the women with PCOS to gain weight or have a hard time shedding weight.

Losing weight contributes to insulin productivity, hormonal balance and better metabolism. This can be concluded to believe that obese women suffer a higher risk of PCOS in comparison to the ones who aren’t obese.

Managing Your Weight with PCOS!

The major question that presents itself is how to lose weight when you have polycystic ovarian syndrome? Insulin promotes appetite, which is the main reason for sudden cravings for carbohydrates and sweets ultimately leading to weight gain. Higher insulin levels promote binge eating as well. Major lifestyle alterations need to be made in order to treat the disease.
Below we describe ways which will help you design your PCOS weight loss plan:

1) Healthy Diet:
A healthy PCOS weight loss diet is the key approach to treatment. Eliminate foods that contribute to increasing insulin levels like sugary beverages, processed foods, or bakery products. Include more fruits, vegetables, nuts, and lean proteins in your diet.

2) Physical Activity:
Regular physical activity not only helps in weight management but helps in all over growth of the body. Two days of strength training combined with physical activity lowers insulin levels and help build muscles, leading to fat burning.

3) Sufficient Sleep:
Lack of sleep and rest contributes to weight gain and insulin resistance. A minimum of eight hours of sleep is required by women each night. A better night’s rest by going to bed at an earlier time yields more results than people realise.

4) Decreasing Stress:
There is a known relationship between PCOS and high cortisol levels. Stress increases the steroid cortisol which results in raised insulin levels, causing severe weight gain. One way to manage stress is by practising yoga, as meditation proves beneficial. If you are unable to deal with stress, you can consider consulting with a psychologist.

Whether or not obesity contributes to PCOS, it is harmful to the body. Reducing weight and burning the body fat has multiple benefits that suppress the risk of most cardiovascular diseases and hormonal disorders.

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