Before we answer, “Does PCOS make you fat?” let’s dispel some myths. Many who hear about Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) assume PCOS symptoms are tied to excessive weight gain, bad skin and unwanted hair growth. That’s not entirely true.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is when a woman’s sex hormones are out of balance. The follicles in the ovaries grow to a moderate size but don’t ovulate -therefore the ovary has a ‘polycystic’ appearance.
The mismatch of levels of sex hormones may allow the naturally occurring male hormones to be more dominant. Honestly, there are multiple PCOS symptoms, but not all women have the same symptoms.
Does being overweight mean I have PCOS?
No, but some researchers estimate up to 10% of women have PCOS. For many women, PCOS is associated with weight gain. Probably the myth that PCOS makes you fat is because women with excessive weight gain are more likely to see a doctor and weight gain is a common symptom of PCOS.
Can skinny women get PCOS?
Yes. Some studies suggest that average or low-body weight women have the same rate of PCOS symptoms as overweight women. Most likely, these women are less likely to seek an additional medical examination. In fact, the 5% to 10% of average to thin women who have PCOS discover it through a routine exam.
So, how do I know if I have PCOS?
Unfortunately, you cannot self-diagnose PCOS. The symptoms of PCOS can be similar to other female health problems. You can’t be sure without the help of a doctor.
Speak to a doctor if you have:
– A lot of weight especially around the torso
– Hair growth in similar locations to men (chest, face, hands)
– Irregular periods (2 or more months apart)
Some women may also have a history of depression, hair loss, smaller breast size or a deeper voice. This may be due to PCOS symptoms occurring at a younger age or living with the hormone imbalance for a longer period of time.
Is PCOS making you fat? Find out. Ask a doctor to help you find the causes of weight gain.
Don’t worry. If you have PCOS symptoms or another medical condition causing weight gain, there are treatments to help you manage your weight.