You could be of normal weight and still have PCOS. However, the majority of women with diagnosed PCOS are overweight or obese.
Being overweight may contribute to developing PCOS, however, weight gain is also a symptom of insulin resistance - which may be a complication of PCOS. It can be a vicious cycle if left unmanaged.
Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas to control the amount of sugar in your blood. It helps to move glucose from blood into cells, where it's broken down to produce energy.
If you are insulin resistant, it means your body's tissues are resistant to the effects of insulin and glucose is stored as fat. Your body therefore has to produce extra insulin to compensate.
High levels of insulin cause your ovaries to produce too much testosterone, which interferes with the development of the follicles (the sacs in the ovaries where eggs develop) and prevents normal ovulation. Women with PCOS produce higher-than-normal levels of male hormones, called androgens. The increased levels of androgens may cause many of the signs and symptoms of PCOS.
Insulin resistance can also lead to weight gain, which can make PCOS symptoms worse, as having excess fat causes the body to produce even more insulin.
The unfortunate reality is that having PCOS and being overweight or obese may lead to serious health issues that include:
More than half of women with PCOS may develop type 2 diabetes by age 40.
This can affect the heart, brain and kidneys.
High levels of bad cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol) and low levels of good cholesterol (HDL) increases the risk for heart disease.
This is a disorder that causes breathing to stop during sleep and raises the risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Women with PCOS may be at higher risk, and this risk increases with age.
Women entering menopause and older women with PCOS are at risk of cancer of the lining of the womb (endometrial cancer).
Losing weight when you have PCOS could be challenging. More than a directive to lose weight, you need support and encouragement to adopt a lifestyle that helps you to be in control of your health.
Start exercising or changing your lifestyle to include more activity - Take the stairs, sit less and move more.
Eat a balanced, healthy diet on most days. A registered dietician can help you understand what foods are best suited for you.
Choose a unique formulated health supplement for PCOS, that is scientifically researched and uses fast-slow technology
Alpha-lipoic 400 mg
Myo-inositol 1000 mg
Folic acid 200 μg