Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition affecting 6%-18% of women.  It creates higher than normal male hormone production in the body and can include small cysts on the ovaries.  This hormonal imbalance causes women to miss periods and difficulty in falling pregnant.  Risk of pregnancy and neonatal complications is also a problem.  The condition is underpinned by insulin resistance and excess hair.  It also causes acne and weight gain. 

Women can have a predisposition to type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.  Psychologically women are at a higher risk of anxiety and depression (Kataoka, 2017). 

Weight Gain in Women With PCOS

The hormone irregularities makes it difficult to lose weight.  This is because of insulin resistance.  Problems with insulin resistance makes it difficult for women to obtain homeostasis so weight is put on.  Problems with dietary intake including gut hormone regulation which deal with our appetite also promote weight gain.   Further studies show that altered metabolism may also play a part in weight gain (Kataoka, 2017).    

There have been studies into the resting metabolism of women with PCOS.  Compared with women that don’t have PCOS it was found that there is a statistical significant difference in resting metabolism.  Women with PCOS have lower metabolism than non-PCOS women.  However the biggest difference was found with women that had insulin resistance (Georgopoulos, 2008)



There are many factors that lead to women putting on weight with the condition including to metabolism and insulin resistance.  More research has to be done to investigate positive ways to assist women in managing their weight and to treat insulin resistance which may include diet.



Josefin Kataoka, Eliza C. Tassone,3 Marie Misso, Anju E. Joham, Elisabet Stener-Victorin, Helena Teede, Lisa J. Moran, ‘Weight Management Interventions in Women with and without PCOS: A Systematic Review’, Nutrients. 2017 Sep; 9(9): 996.

Neoklis A Georgopoulos, Alexandros D. Saltamavros, Vasiliki Vervita, Kyriakos Karkoulias, George Adonakis, George O Decavalas, George Kourounis, Kostas Markou, Venetsana Kyriazopoulou, ‘Basal metabolic rate is decreased in women with polycystic ovary syndrome and biochemical hyperandrogenemia and is associated with insulin resistance, Fertility and sterility’, 92(1):250-5 · September 2008

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