Is PCOS Associated With Overweight? Myth Or Reality! 

Weight Gain


Published on: 11-Feb-2023


10 min read


Updated on : 01-Dec-2023




Kajal Tharwani


Is PCOS Associated With Overweight? Myth Or Reality! 

Is PCOS Associated With Overweight? Myth Or Reality! 

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Some medical conditions  have the potential to drastically alter your life, and once diagnosed, you will naturally want to learn everything you can about them.

PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) is a prime example. Women with PCOS have hormonal imbalances and metabolism issues, which can have a negative impact on their health. The condition is common in reproductive-age women and can cause symptoms such as an irregular menstrual cycle, acne, thinning hair, and weight gain.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects one in every ten women of childbearing age. Women with PCOS have hormonal imbalances and metabolism issues, which can impact their overall health and appearance. But first, let us debunk the most popular fallacies about obesity being a cause of PCOS.

Table Of Contents 

1. What Is PCOS? 

2. What Are The Causes Of PCOS? 

3. How Are PCOS And Obesity Interrelated? 

4. What Are The Reason For Increasing Weight In PCOS? 

5. Dietitian’s Recommendation 

6. The Final Say 

7. FAQs 

What Is PCOS? 

PCOS is one of the most prevalent hormonal illnesses among reproductive-age women, affecting 5 to 10% of them. Women with PCOS have irregular menstrual cycles and frequently struggle to conceive. The term "polycystic ovarian syndrome" refers to tiny cysts around the outer border of women with this condition's enlarged ovaries.

The polycystic ovarian syndrome is a frequent health issue caused by a hormonal imbalance. Due to hormonal imbalance, the ovaries generate many tiny collections of fluid and fail to release eggs regularly. 

With PCOS, the egg may not mature properly or be adequately released during ovulation. Although the specific aetiology of PCOS is unknown, it frequently runs in families. It is associated with aberrant hormone levels in the body and abnormalities in many bodily systems, such as the pituitary gland, ovaries, and adrenal gland.

What Are The Causes Of PCOS? 

The specific aetiology of PCOS is unknown, although doctors suspect it is linked to an excess of androgens, a class of male sex hormones.

Many factors may contribute to the generation of androgens and, as a result, the development of PCOS. Excess insulin (the hormone that helps cells to utilise sugar) may, for example, have a role in developing PCOS. It causes insulin resistance, which reduces your capacity to use insulin efficiently. When the body cannot adequately utilise insulin, it secretes extra insulin to make glucose accessible to cells. The extra insulin produced as a result is hypothesised to increase androgen synthesis by the ovaries.

Another possible cause of PCOS is low-grade inflammation. According to research, women with this illness frequently experience low-grade inflammation. Heredity also has a role. If your mother or sister has it, you are more likely to have it.  

Besides, circumstances in the mother's womb before birth might play a role in PCOS. Because several variables might contribute to the development of excess androgens, which are linked to the development of PCOS, identifying a single, precise cause of this disorder is impossible.

How Are PCOS And Obesity Interrelated? 

Excess weight and polycystic ovarian syndrome are inextricably linked. Many PCOS women are indeed overweight or obese. However, it is also true that weight can exacerbate PCOS symptoms. 

The connection between weight and PCOS is due to the body's failure to utilise insulin appropriately, which can result in weight gain. As a result, weight loss by establishing a balanced diet and exercise routine is suggested as part of most women's treatment plans.

Insulin resistance is the most common cause of weight gain in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. Insulin resistance occurs when some cells do not respond to pancreatic insulin. As a result, the pancreas produces more insulin to keep blood sugar levels normal. This results in increased androgen production and obesity. This produces a vicious cycle in which insulin resistance rises, as do symptoms and weight. 

When insulin levels rise in the blood, it stimulates the synthesis of the male hormone androgen, which is linked to acne, excess facial and body hair, and weight gain. Androgen, like testosterone, stimulates weight gain in women around the midsection, resulting in an apple-shaped physique rather than a pear-shaped body. Because the abdomen is related to an increased risk of heart disease, it is regarded as the most harmful sort of fat.

Insulin resistance is connected to postprandial thermogenesis in women with PCOS, which is heat generation owing to metabolism after a meal that briefly boosts the metabolic rate. A slower metabolic rate causes an increase in weight. In addition, women with PCOS have emotional difficulties such as mood swings, sadness, etc. Therefore, excess weight has been related to increased food desires and emotional eating.

Losing weight can be difficult for people with polycystic ovary syndrome since it is incredibly difficult to lose weight when compared to someone who does not have PCOS.

What Are The Reasons For Increasing Weight In PCOS?

What Are The Reasons For Increasing Weight  In PCOS

Weight is an issue for women who have the polycystic ovarian syndrome. It is also more difficult for them to shed weight than for women who do not have PCOS. Almost 80% of women with polycystic ovarian syndrome are overweight. Some of the reasons for increased weight in PCOS include:

1. Mental Health 

Stress, worry, and depression are all associated with increased weight because they can lead to emotional eating and an increase in appetite. However, this is not always the case since they might cause weight reduction rather than weight gain.

2. Inadequate Sleep 

People who receive less than 7 hours of sleep each night are more likely to be overweight than those who get nine or more hours of sleep. This is because people who do not get enough sleep have higher amounts of Ghrelin, often known as the hunger hormone.

3. Thyroid Inactivity 

Hypothyroidism, also known as underactive thyroid, is a disorder in which the thyroid gland produces insufficient thyroid hormone. This affects a person's metabolism, which might lead to increased weight. Depression, weariness, dry skin and hair, and aching muscles are all signs of an underactive thyroid.

4. Insulin Therapy 

Weight gain might be exacerbated by insulin medication or treatment. It aids in breaking fats and proteins, regulates blood sugar levels, and converts meal energy into fat. Insulin therapy is linked to weight increase in diabetics.

Dietitian’s Recommendation 

PCOS is the most prevalent hormonal illness in women of reproductive age and can cause fertility problems. As a result, most women will have to deal with weight gain at some time. On the other hand, losing weight might be a continual battle for women with the polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). To lessen the effects of PCOS, obese women should maintain a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, take medications regularly, avoid stress, and see their doctor regularly.

                                                                                                      - Dietitian Lavina Chauhan 

The Final Say 

PCOS is a prevalent hormonal condition that affects reproductive-age women. However, PCOS may be treated, and symptoms can be reduced with the correct medication. Furthermore, early detection and treatment of PCOS can help lower the risk of long-term consequences such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or stroke.


1. Why are PCOS people overweight?

Women with PCOS produce too much insulin, or their insulin does not work properly. The inability of insulin to function normally leads to an increase in weight or difficulty losing weight.

2. What percentage of PCOS sufferers are overweight?

Between 40% and 85% of women with PCOS are overweight or obese, and obesity is closely linked to the development of PCOS.

3. Will losing weight help PCOS?

Even a slight weight loss will help relieve the symptoms of PCOS. This is because weight loss restores the ovaries' normal function and results in average hormone production. 

4. What is the best exercise for PCOS?

Moderate exercises like brisk walking, jogging, cycling or swimming are all great activities that can help with PCOS. This exercise increases your body's sensitivity to insulin, reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

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