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How PCOS Can Affect Your Weight and Body Image

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common women’s health condition in which hormone imbalances affect your metabolism and your reproductive system. Up to One in 10 women of childbearing age may suffer from PCOS.

Here at Westover Hills Women’s Health, board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist Houmam Al-Hakeem, MD, recognizes that health conditions such as PCOS can impact your physical and mental health. 

With that in mind, he would like to share some important insights about how PCOS can affect your body image and emotional well-being.

Weighed down by symptoms

PCOS results from imbalances in reproductive hormones and an excess of male hormones. These imbalances cause irregularities in your ovaries that can interfere with eggs being released each month. Small cysts may develop in your ovaries, and your periods may be irregular.

Because PCOS affects your metabolism as well as your reproductive system, it can make it easy for you to gain weight and hard for you to lose weight. It can also increase insulin resistance and your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes.

PCOS and body image

Unfortunately, some of the symptoms of PCOS can take a heavy toll on your self-image. 

For example, the hormone imbalances associated with PCOS can lead to excess hair growth on your face, chin, arms, and other places where men typically have more hair than women. This symptom affects as many as 70% of women.

What’s more, PCOS can cause thinning of the hair on your head. This thinning can be similar to what men with male-pattern baldness experience.

PCOS can also lead to problems with your skin. It can cause acne on your face, back, and chest, and can darken the skin around your neck, under your breasts, and near your groin.

Treating PCOS

Even though there’s no cure for PCOS, treatment can help you manage your symptoms. 

For example, hormonal birth control methods can bring hormone levels back on track, reducing symptoms such as menstrual irregularities, acne, and excess hair growth.

In addition, medications that block the action of male hormones may help with hair- and skin-related problems.

As for excess weight, lifestyle changes such as eating healthier foods and increasing your activity levels can help you slim down. 

Improve your body image

If PCOS or other women’s health issues are hurting your emotional health or your quality of life, let us help. After diagnosing your condition, Dr. Al-Hakeem works with you to create a personalized treatment plan aimed at managing your symptoms and improving your health and your outlook. 

To schedule an appointment for an examination at one of our two San Antonio, Texas, offices, call us today or use our online tool to book a visit.

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