Here's Why Obesity Is The Reason For Development of PCOS

PCOS cases are rising at a rapid rate. However, obesity is defined as excessive body fat that increases your risk of other health problems. Weight loss is essential in obese adolescents.

Here's Why Obesity Is The Reason For Development of PCOS
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There is a surge in the number of PCOS cases in not only older women but even adolescent girls. The increased prevalence of adolescent obesity has driven a rise in the cases of obesity-related co-morbidities, along with poly cystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Being overweight, a sedentary lifestyle, and genetics can be the driving factors behind PCOS. 

Weight loss is essential in obese adolescents. Keep PCOS at bay by maintaining an optimum weight, eating a well-balanced diet, and exercising daily.

Thus, the parents of young girls need to consult the doctor without any delay and seek timely medical intervention.

Apart from this, eating a well-balanced diet, exercising daily, staying stress-free, and maintaining an optimum weight can do the trick.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS is seen due to hormonal disorders in teenage girls and women. Girls with a higher level of androgens can suffer from this condition. “Certain things like being confined at home, lack of physical activity, stress, irregular menses, higher junk food consumption, binge-watching TV, and irregular sleep patterns have led to weight gain causes a higher incidence of PCOS. Those with PCOS have higher production of male hormones, insulin resistance, acne, and dark patches on the skin. PCOS can interfere with one’s ability to carry out real-world activities with ease. This condition causes serious complications like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and infertility. Every Week we are seeing 5 to 10 patients with complaints of PCOS. Do not neglect this condition at all. It is the need of the hour to manage this worrisome condition by taking note of the symptoms and improving the quality of life,” said Dr Pratima Thamke, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar .

Obesity is defined as excessive body fat that increases your risk of other health problems. It can occur because of lack of physical activities, excess diet, low cost easily available foods, high-density foods, high snack consumption, less exercise, availability of high-tech gadgets like televisions and computers that do not allow us to do physical exercise, and various other reasons. As the level of obesity increases, it significantly increases the risk of developing life-threatening conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cancer, acidity problems, various gynecological problems, and hormonal problems. Obesity is commonly tied to poly cystic ovary disease (PCOS).
PCOS cases are rising at a rapid rate. Misha Khanna (name changed)*, a resident of Mumbai with a height of 5 ft 3 inches was obese since childhood and adolescence age. But, during the COVID-19 pandemic, she gained around 15 kgs in a year due to a sedentary lifestyle. Her menstrual cycle was irregular for 1year and she was diagnosed with PCOS. The pre-investigations report suggested that she was pre-diabetic as her weight before surgery was 108.3 and her BMI was 42.2. She underwent Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery to lose weight and her menstrual cycle started becoming regular after 3 months of the surgery. Currently, her weight is 87.5 and her BMI is 34.2. She will be losing weight in the upcoming months. There are many patients like her who have obesity-induced PCOS.

Dr Manish Motwani, Chief Bariatric Surgeon – Aastha Bariatrics - Centre of Excellence in Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery said, “Obesity during childhood and teenage years can lead to the development of PCOS. According to studies, Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a highly prevalent obesity-related comorbidity in girls and women who are genetically predisposed to its development. The close association between obesity and PCOS is supported by epidemiological data, revealing that between 38%-88% of women with PCOS are either overweight or obese. An estimated one in five Indian women suffers from PCOS. If not treated in time, it can lead to serious health issues. PCOS is an endocrine condition that affects the ovaries and is seen in obese as well as non obese women during reproductive age or adolescent years. The red flags of it are irregular menses, infertility, acne, and hirsutism (excessive hair growth). Women with PCOS are known to have central obesity, lower insulin sensitivity, higher testosterone levels, lower sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG) menstrual irregularity, and psychological issues and may be at a higher risk of miscarriages. Adolescent girls with obesity have higher chances of infertility and childlessness in adulthood.”

Dr Motwani added, “Moreover, women after detection with PCOS can also become obese or overweight. Approximately 50 per cent of women with PCOS are obese.  PCOS makes it more difficult for the body to use the hormone insulin leading to insulin resistance. High insulin levels increase the production of male hormones called androgens causing weight gain.``

Weight management during childhood will prevent PCOS development. “Right steps at the right time for the right stage of obesity will help to prevent obesity and get relief from its complications. Eat a nutritious, balanced diet. Try to come down from being overweight to normal weight. For some women diet and exercise alone may not be enough to achieve a healthy weight. If the BMI is greater than 30, bariatric surgery might be a good option. It is a life-transforming surgery and a lifesaving surgery. Bariatric Surgery has proven to be an effective strategy in treating obesity, not just in decreasing weight, but also in reducing the comorbidities, thus impacting the quality of life and survival of patients with severe obesity,” concluded Dr Motwani.

The doctor will check the medical history, menstrual history, and physical examination that can determine the condition. Blood tests are done to see the blood androgen hormone levels as well as to rule out other illnesses with comparable symptoms. Even an oral glucose tolerance test can look for increased blood glucose and insulin levels. Your treating doctor will prescribe some medications to tackle symptoms like acne, irregular periods and excess facial hair growth. Apart from medications, you will have to adhere to a well-balanced lifestyle. Try to eat fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lentils, pulses, nuts,  and seeds and adequate water. Avoid oily, spicy, canned, and processed foods. If the girl has heavy bleeding, she should eat food rich in iron to avoid the deficiency. Spinach, dried fruits, eggs, and broccoli contain iron and should be included in her daily diet. It will be imperative for you to exercise and maintain an optimum weight. Try to exercise at least 5 days a week for 150 minutes. Do not do any strenuous activities as there are chances of injuries. Do yoga and meditation to stay stress-free,” concluded Dr. Veena Aurangabadwalla, Gynaecologist, Zen Multi-specialty Hospital, Chembur.

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