September is PCOS Awareness Month. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder characterized by fluid-filled cysts in the ovaries and increased secretion of male hormones (androgens), which can cause irregular menstruation, male-pattern hair growth, fertility problems and excessive weight in women. Almost 10% of all women have PCOS and about 60% of these women are obese. More than half of women with PCOS have insulin resistance, which predisposes them to becoming obese, and being that overweight makes insulin resistance even worse. This is a vicious cycle that can be very difficult to break by lifestyle modifications of diet and exercise alone. This is when bariatric surgery can help.
Bariatric surgery has been around for a long time and has become much safer and less invasive over time, giving women a viable option to manage PCOS.
- Bariatric surgery has shown 47% success of pregnancy in PCOS women by reducing menstrual irregularities and regularizing ovulation.
- Weight-loss surgery can protect against the development of coronary artery diseases.
- Excessive male hormones secretion and its related male-pattern hair growth are also reduced following the surgery.
- Additionally, medical evidence overwhelmingly shows that patients will experience improvement in body image, quality of life and emotional satisfaction.
PCOS is a chronic condition that doesn’t have a permanent cure, but can be controlled through medication, diet and maintaining a healthy weight. Weight loss through surgery helps reduce insulin resistance and its related consequences. Bariatric surgery has been shown to be a very powerful tool in the treatment for those with excess weight and should not be overlooked because a woman is young and is not presenting with a life-threatening complication. Every woman suffering from PCOS should know about the option of bariatric surgery, along with medical and lifestyle modification as the first line of treatment.