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pcos and obesity: what’s the connection

If you are diagnosed with PCOS or have heard of PCOS, you probably heard weight gain is a risk factor. The truth is, that PCOS does not affect only overweight or obese women. It can affect lean women too, i.e. those who have a BMI of less than 25.  Increased weight, especially abdominal fat, increases […]

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Posted on June 18, 2023 ·

If you are diagnosed with PCOS or have heard of PCOS, you probably heard weight gain is a risk factor. The truth is, that PCOS does not affect only overweight or obese women. It can affect lean women too, i.e. those who have a BMI of less than 25. 

Increased weight, especially abdominal fat, increases your risk of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even problems with fertility.

A Brief Overview of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

PCOS or Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal disorder that affects almost 4%-20% of women around the world, around reproductive age. In this condition, multiple small sacks of fluid develop on the outer edge of your ovaries called cysts. These cysts contain eggs that your body is unable to mature and unable to release in the form of menstruation. An early diagnosis of this condition and a proper treatment plan that includes, a balanced diet, exercise, and proper medication, can help in reversing this condition. 

PCOS is a very subjective health issue meaning the symptoms of this hormonal disorder will vary from person to person. But there are some very common symptoms that almost every woman experiences.

  • Irregular periods: The first thing that this hormonal disorder disrupts in your body is your menstrual cycle. Missing periods or periods that aren’t regular are common signs of PCOS. Also, periods that last for many days or longer than is typical for a period can be a sign of PCOS. For example, you might have fewer than nine periods a year. And those periods may occur more than 35 days apart. You may have trouble getting pregnant.
  • Excess androgen production: PCOS causes excess production of androgen hormones in a woman’s body which may result in excess facial and body hair. This is called hirsutism. Sometimes, severe acne and male-pattern baldness can happen, too.
  • Polycystic ovaries: the size of your ovaries increases when you have PCOS to accommodate multiple follicles containing immature eggs and this, in turn, forms multiple small cysts.

Understanding Obesity

Obesity is a complex and chronic health condition that affects millions of people across the globe. Obesity occurs when excess fat accumulates in various parts of your body, disproportionately. This also increases your risk of having type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer. Obesity can be caused by various reasons ranging from an imbalanced diet, unhealthy lifestyle, lack of exercise, or even due to genetics and other health conditions like PCOS and thyroid. It is a treatable medical condition that can easily be cured with the help of a proper nutritionist or healthcare provider. Obesity usually and disproportionately affects already vulnerable populations including individuals with food insecurity and those with mental illnesses. 

Health Risks and Concerns

As mentioned above obesity can lead to various health issues such as:

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a very common health issue that is related to both obesity and PCOS and occurs when your blood glucose is too high due to hormonal imbalance. As an obese person with diabetes, you are also at a high risk of having heart disease, kidney problems, eye problems and other neurological problems. It is advised to lose at least 5-7 percent of your body weight and follow rigorous physical activity to keep diabetes in check.

High Blood Pressure

Hypertension or high blood pressure is caused when the blood in your blood vessels flows at a higher pressure than normal and this can happen when you’re obese. High blood pressure can weaken your heart, damage your blood vessels, and increase your chances of having a stroke.

Heart Disease

Almost every other symptom of obesity leads to heart disease, so obesity will weaken your heart. High blood pressure, high blood sugar and blood fats can all lead to heart disease and stroke. Blood fats include cholesterol and blood lipids and both of them are directly related to obesity and unhealthy eating habits. 


You can experience a stroke when the blood supply to your brain is suddenly cut off, caused by a blockage or the bursting of a blood vessel in your brain or neck. A stroke can damage brain tissue and make you unable to speak or move parts of your body. High blood pressure is the leading cause of strokes.

Sleep Apnoea

Most obese people often experience sleep apnoea which is a common disorder in which you are unable to breathe regularly while you are sleeping. There are chances that one can also suffocate while sleeping. Untreated sleep apnoea may raise your risk of other health problems, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Fatty Liver Diseases

Most women with PCOS and obesity also have fatty liver issues. Fatty liver diseases may lead to severe liver damage, cirrhosis, or even liver failure.


When there is pain, swelling and reduced motion in your joints it is called osteoarthritis. Being overweight or obese makes you more prone to osteoarthritis by putting extra pressure on your joints and cartilage.

Gallbladder Diseases

Gallbladder diseases, such as gallstones and cholecystitis are also triggered by obesity. This is because gallstones are formed when bile contains too much cholesterol.

Some Cancers

Overweight and obesity stop the development of certain types of cancer NIH external links.

Kidney Disease

Obesity which leads to diabetes and high blood pressure can also damage your kidney. Even if you don’t have diabetes or high blood pressure, obesity itself may promote kidney disease and quicken its progress.

Pregnancy Problems

Pregnant women who are overweight often develop gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.

The Link Between PCOS and Weight Gain

We have already established the fact that being overweight is a risk factor for PCOS. When you have excess fat, especially around your abdomen, your body produces excess insulin and it can lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can also lead to weight gain and difficulty losing weight. Weight gain increases the risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnoea and heart disease. Your risk of developing PCOS increases if you are obese, and your risk of becoming overweight increases if you have PCOS.

Ways To Manage Obesity and PCOS

Diet and Nutrition

A balanced diet is the very first step toward weight loss and one of the most organic ways to lose weight and keep your PCOS in check. Avoiding carbs, consuming higher quantities of protein and good fats, portion control, the gap between meals, etc are some of the dietary practices that are usually advised to lose weight. But all these measures are debatable based on individual food preferences and allergies.

Stress Management

Stress is a major contributor to eating disorders and weight gain. Stress causes an increase in levels of cortisol, which in turn causes insulin resistance and weight gain. To lower your cortisol levels, focus on stress management practices.

Exercise and Physical Activity

Just like a balanced diet, exercise is a necessity for weight loss. A particular study performed on women with PCOS observed that women with obesity who also performed an hour of vigorous exercise lost considerably more weight than others. Weight training has also been shown to be beneficial for people with PCOS.

Supportive Supplements and Medications

Many people have a prejudice against supplements as they label them as an artificial way to lose weight, but when you are suffering from PCOS a proper supplement along with a healthy diet is a great addition, especially if you have nutrient deficiencies. Supplements like Myo-inositol help treat hormonal imbalances which can in turn help with weight loss, improve energy levels, regulate periods, and even improve fertility. Medications like birth control pills (OCPs) and metformin can also be prescribed to treat hormonal imbalances to restore regular period cycles, reduce insulin resistance, and improve fertility depending on the severity of your symptoms. 

If you are looking to buy our doctor-recommended Myo-inositol supplement that can help you improve your PCOS symptoms, check out VeeVital PCOS Support. Click here.

Sleep Hygiene

Women with PCOS may also experience sleep disturbances, including excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep apnoea and insomnia. And lack of sleep can lead to poor quality of life, including the risk of developing future health complications.

Talk To a Professional

Whether you have PCOS or not, if you are suffering from obesity you must consult with a nutritionist and go for health checkups frequently. A proper diet plan can not only help you lose weight faster but also in a healthier way.

Learn More With Veera

At Veera Health we focus on the well-being of our patients which is why we focus primarily on their diet. Because diet is something that our patients can have control over and can follow daily. If you too are someone struggling with obesity and PCOS you can take our diet quiz and accordingly be assisted by our care managers.

BY Team Veera

Medically Reviewed



At Veera, we are dedicated towards reversing PCOS for life with our science-backed program that is accessible and affordable to all.

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