Yes, Women with PCOS Gain More Weight

Image of a woman, wearing a headscarf, in the center of several images representing the various components of PCOS

A new study published in Human Reproduction in Nov 2021, looked to find if factors like lifestyle, psychological factors, and healthcare professional engagement contribute to weight gain in women with and without PCOS. 


The participants were women in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health who were born from 1973 to 1978. The study consisted of seven surveys completed between 1996 and 2015, where 7,180 participants reported sociodemographic data, dietary intake, sitting time, physical activity, depression, anxiety, stress, and whether they had been diagnosed with PCOS in the last fours years. 8.7% of the participants reported having PCOS. In the 19 years this study lasted, women with PCOS went from an average weight of 67.4kg to 82.9kg and women without it went from an average weight of 62.3kg to 73.4kg.


It was known already that women with PCOS gain more weight and have a higher obesity prevalence than women without PCOS. However, the association between this weight change and lifestyle factors was still unknown. The results of this study have now shown positive associations between weight gain and energy intake, sitting time, and stress. On the other hand, diet quality, glycaemic index, healthcare utilization, depression, or anxiety showed no association to weight gain. The results suggest that, overall, women with PCOS are biologically predisposed to weight gain, but lifestyle factors have a greater impact on weight gain in women with PCOS than without it. 


This means a diagnosis of PCOS should really prompt us to prioritize a healthier lifestyle: more physical activity, a healthier diet, foods lower in the glycemic index, and a lifetime commitment to keeping these lifestyle changes.


Early lifestyle intervention is important for patients with PCOS. If you have this diagnosis or suspect you have PCOS, the staff at El Camino Women’s Medical Group will be happy to guide you!



El Camino Women’s Medical Group offers the latest Minimally Invasive Solutions for gynecologic problems.   Drs. Amy TengErika Balassiano, Pooja Gupta, and Christina Lam, all members of AAGL (American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopy) are highly trained and experienced in the field of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery.   Dr. Erika Balassiano has also completed a Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Fellowship, under the supervision of world-renowned Dr. Camran Nezhat.

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