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PCOS and Weight Loss
There is a clear link between weight and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It is estimated that 50 to 60 percent of women with PCOS are obese, and more are somewhat overweight. Research shows that in the majority of women high levels of insulin are responsible for weight gain and other aspects of PCOS including infertility. But what does this mean for women with PCOS, especially those who want to become pregnant?
PCOS and Insulin Levels
If you would like to become pregnant then it is very important for you to get your high insulin levels under control. High insulin levels make it more difficult for you to become pregnant. This is because high insulin levels affect other hormone levels and this combines to reduce a woman’s ability to produce and release an egg. Reducing your insulin level can help you have more regular periods, more ovulatory cycles and stabilized hormone levels, all of which can help you improve your chances of pregnancy. One of the best ways to get your insulin levels down is to lose weight. Losing just 5 percent of your body weight can help restore normal ovulation and menstruation.
PCOS and Low Glycemic Index Diet
Following a low glycemic index (GI) diet seems to be the most effective way for women with PCOS to lose weight. A low GI diet seems to work because it does not cause quick rises and falls in blood sugar. This helps stabilize insulin levels. Carbohydrates are usually responsible for the quick rises in falls in blood sugar, but you do not need to entirely cut them out of your diet. Instead, you should make sure that you are eating the right kinds of carbohydrate. Whole grain carbohydrates are usually the best choice because they are high in fiber, which takes longer for your body to process. This means that your blood sugar does not rise and fall as quickly.
Losing Weight and PCOS
You should also consider how many calories you are eating; if you are eating more calories than you are burning, no matter where they come from, you still will not lose weight. Also, regular exercise is an important way of helping you to lose weight and reduce PCOS symptoms.
Unfortunately, women with high insulin levels often have a harder time losing weight than other women. High insulin levels are believed to promote fat storage. Also, if you are already overweight it can be harder to get started on an exercise routine to help you lose weight. Your fertility doctor may refer you to a dietitian to help you find a strategy that works for you.
Finally, you should always keep in mind that change will not happen overnight. Improving your diet and developing and maintaining a regular exercise routine are important parts of losing weight, feeling better and improving fertility, but they all take time. Keeping your desired outcomes in mind will help you remember what you are working hard for!