While Ozempic lacks FDA approval for the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome, various doctors have been using Ozempic off-label for PCOS for years. This medication has effectively managed significant PCOS complications, such as excessive insulin production, elevated blood pressure, and heightened cholesterol levels. Various studies have shown that since incorporating Ozempic into the regimen of their subjects, their blood sugar levels have stabilized, and they have experienced reduced levels of incapacitating fatigue.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is closely linked with obesity. This hormonal disorder affects around 10% of women in their reproductive years, and a significant 40%-80% of them also struggle with obesity. This disorder leads to higher levels of androgen hormones, resulting in symptoms such as irregular menstrual cycles, weight gain, acne, excessive hair growth, skin tags, the velvety appearance of fold areas, hair thinning and subfertility.
The Link Between Weight Gain and PCOS
Aside from irregular periods, hirsutism, and fertility challenges, one of the prominent impacts of polycystic ovary syndrome on women is weight gain. A direct correlation exists between weight gain and polycystic ovary syndrome. A key contributor to weight gain in women with PCOS is insulin resistance. Insulin resistance occurs when the pancreas produces insulin to fuel the body, but certain cells do not adequately respond to it. This prompts the production of more insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Consequently, insulin accumulates in the bloodstream, potentially increasing the likelihood of diabetes in the future.
An accumulation of insulin in the bloodstream stimulates the synthesis of the male hormone androgen. This hormone is linked to the development of acne, surplus facial and body hair, and the gain of weight. Similarly to its effects in males, androgen leads to weight gain for females, often centered around the abdomen area. Consequently, instead of the typical pear-shaped body, women with this condition may exhibit an apple-shaped physique.
Some of the reasons for weight gain are:
- Mental wellbeing
The presence of stress, anxiety, and depression has connections to weight gain, as they can lead to emotional eating and heightened appetite. However, it’s important to note that this isn’t a universal experience, as for certain individuals, these factors can induce weight loss rather than weight gain.
- Lack of sleep
Research indicates that individuals who consistently sleep less than 7 hours per night are at a higher risk of being overweight compared to those who manage nine or more hours of sleep. This phenomenon stems from the observation that insufficient sleep results in elevated levels of the hormone Ghrelin, often referred to as the hunger hormone.
- Underactive thyroid
Hypothyroidism, also known as underactive thyroid, occurs when the thyroid gland fails to generate an adequate amount of thyroid hormone. This directly impacts metabolism and can consequently lead to weight gain. Among the signs of an underactive thyroid are feelings of depression, fatigue, dry skin and hair, and muscle discomfort.
- Insulin Management
Managing diabetes through insulin therapy can be associated with weight gain. This treatment aids in the breakdown of fats and proteins, the control of blood sugar levels, and the conversion of food energy into fat reserves. In individuals dealing with diabetes, insulin therapy is connected to the potential for weight gain.
- Steroid treatment
The administration of steroids leads to an augmentation of body fat, subsequently leading to an increase in weight. Steroids are commonly prescribed for conditions such as asthma, arthritis, and others.
What Is Ozempic?
Ozempic (semaglutide) belongs to a class of diabetes medications referred to as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. These drugs function by mimicking the actions of a hormone called GLP-1, which is released by the pancreas after meals. GLP-1 stimulates the secretion of insulin, reduces appetite, and enhances the feeling of fullness.
This branded medicine has been granted approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in adults and adolescents aged 12 and older, intended as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes. This condition arises when the body doesn’t effectively utilize insulin, resulting in elevated blood glucose levels. Ozempic is typically available in prefilled syringes designed for once-a-week subcutaneous injections in the stomach, thigh, or upper arm. There’s also a pill version of this medication called Rybelsus, which functions similarly to Ozempic but requires daily dosing.
How Does It Work?
While the exact cause of PCOS remains uncertain, its development is influenced by various factors. These factors encompass persistent inflammation, elevated levels of androgens, weight gain, and insulin resistance—early stages of prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes that impair the effective processing of glucose.
Ozempic and similar medications containing semaglutide show promise for overweight or obese women dealing with PCOS. These medications improve metabolic factors like weight loss and blood sugar levels.
Moreover, Ozempic indirectly improves fertility, but the impact is indirect. It emphasizes the role of the connection between infertility and obesity, noting that weight loss often leads to the resumption of menstrual cycles in individuals who had previously stopped ovulating. Ultimately, shedding excess weight can enhance fertility in specific scenarios and contribute to a safer pregnancy, as highlighted by experts.
What Are the Benefits?
Ozempic delivers a substantial reduction in HbA1C ( glycosylated hemoglobin) levels. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), a reasonable target for most adults dealing with type 2 diabetes is an HbA1C reading below 7%. Consulting a healthcare provider to determine the appropriate goal for your situation is important before taking this medication.
Individuals with type 2 diabetes face an increased risk of major cardiovascular events like stroke, heart attack, or increased mortality in adults already with established heart diseases. Ozempic mitigates the likelihood of significant cardiovascular events.
While Ozempic is not primarily designed for weight loss, it might aid in shedding some weight. This medication is intended for adults with type 2 diabetes and, in conjunction with dietary adjustments and physical activity, has the potential to enhance insulin sensitivity. Although not a dedicated weight loss treatment, Ozempic may contribute to gradual weight reduction.
Possible Side Effects
- Pancreatitis: Discontinue the usage of Ozempic and promptly contact your healthcare provider if you experience persistent, intense abdominal pain that does not subside, with or without vomiting. The pain may radiate from your abdomen to your back.
- Vision Changes: Inform your healthcare provider if you undergo alterations in vision while undergoing treatment with Ozempic.
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar): Your risk of encountering low blood sugar might be elevated if you use Ozempic along with other medications that can induce low blood sugar, such as sulfonylurea or insulin. Symptoms of low blood sugar may encompass dizziness, lightheadedness, blurred vision, anxiety, mood changes, sweating, slurred speech, hunger, confusion, drowsiness, tremors, weakness, headache, rapid heartbeat, and a jittery sensation.
- Kidney Problems/Failure: For individuals with kidney problems, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting could result in fluid loss (dehydration), and potentially worsening kidney problems. Ensuring adequate fluid intake is crucial to mitigate the risk of dehydration.
- Severe Allergic Reactions: Cease Ozempic usage immediately and seek medical assistance if any signs of a severe allergic reaction emerge. These may include facial, lip, tongue, or throat swelling; breathing or swallowing difficulties; pronounced rash or itching; fainting or dizziness; or exceptionally rapid heartbeat.
- Gallbladder Problems: Some individuals taking Ozempic have experienced gallbladder issues. Notify your healthcare provider promptly if you notice symptoms such as upper abdominal pain, fever, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), or pale-colored stools.
Who can get an Ozempic prescription?
Ozempic has received FDA approval solely for individuals with type 2 diabetes. Nevertheless, healthcare providers might prescribe this medication “off-label” to address weight loss. Off-label usage signifies that while the medication might yield results, the FDA has not granted specific approval for the particular purpose for which a doctor has recommended it.
Talk To a Specialist
Before consuming Ozempic, inform your healthcare provider about any existing medical conditions, including the following:
- Any past or ongoing issues concerning your pancreas or kidneys.
- History of diabetic retinopathy.
- If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, planning to become pregnant, or intending to breastfeed. The potential impact of Ozempic on your unborn baby or breast milk is not fully understood. It is advisable to discontinue Ozempic usage for two months before attempting to conceive.
Additionally, make sure to provide your healthcare provider with a comprehensive list of all medications you are taking. This includes both prescription and non-prescription medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, and other diabetes-related medications such as insulin or sulfonylureas.
Learn More With Veera
The doctors at Veera Health are constantly on the lookout for ways to make your PCOS reversal journey easier and long-lasting through either medication or natural methods.
Disclaimer: Content on Veera is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice, or as a substitute for medical advice given by a physician.