Does PCOS Cause Weight Gain?

Last Editorial Review: 8/9/2017

Ask the experts

I have gained a serious amount of weight since the loss of my periods and my doctor believes I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Do women who are treated for this condition lose the weight they gained due to PCOS?

Doctor's response

It is still being debated whether the weight gain is what caused the polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) to emerge, or whether PCOS causes weight gain. It is known that obesity, sometimes even beginning in childhood, is present in about half of women with PCOS.

In any case, of all the available treatments for PCO, weight loss is the simplest and can be very effective in treating insulin abnormalities, menstrual irregularities, and other symptoms of PCOS. Although weight loss is extremely difficult for some women with PCOS, and women with PCOS may not be able to lose weight without working very hard or seeing a dietician. Nor will they keep excess weight off without exercising every day, or nearly every day. Daily walking that is gradually increased in duration until it is every day will be highly beneficial as a starting point. Your doctor can help you to develop a nutrition and exercise plan that is individualized and appropriate for your age and physical condition.

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Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


"Clinical manifestations of polycystic ovary syndrome in adults"