Gynaecological Issues That Lead To Weight Gain
Weight gain is an increasing epidemic in modern times, but apart from medical causes, there are also some gynaecological reasons due to which a woman can put on weight and if the causes are divided according to their organ of origin, it can be related to the following gynaecological disorders that can cause weight gain:
- Ovarian – PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) Ovarian tumours / cancers
- Uterine – Tumours such as fibroids
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
This is the most common hormonal problem faced by women of reproductive age. Women have ovaries and they have follicles which grow to release an egg during every cycle, but when afflicted With PCOS, these follicles don’t grow and do not release an egg. And when scanned, the follicles appear as small fluid-filled spaces, hence the name polycystic ovaries.
Due to anovulation or delayed ovulation and hormonal changes, increased insulin resistance happens and more formation of male hormones. Combined together. these manifest as irregular cycles, acne. weight gain, hirsutism and infertility. In PCOS, the increased insulin resistance causes deranged carbohydrate metabolism and more accumulation of fat. resulting in weight gain. Thus. it is very difficult to lose weight when a woman has PCOS.
The first line of treatment for PCOS is diet and exercise. Diet should be low carbohydrate and a protein-rich diet. Also, exercise should be moderate to severe. Physical activity and weight should be maintained according to the height of an individual, meaning the Body Mass Index (BMI) should be normal.
Secondary treatment for PCOS is symptom-based and treatment can be given for acne, hair growth, irregular cycles and infertility.
Obesity weight gain is an important concern in the current era and should be addressed properly as it has multiple associated problems
Ovarian Tumours/ Ovarian Cancers
Large ovarian tumours such as germ cell tumours may be the cause of weight gain. Sometimes, tumours could be in kilograms and in such cases, abdominal fullness, bloating and weight gain is observed. Aso in ovarian cancers. there are bulk-forming tumours and they remain undetected, until they get big enough. The patient usually has symptoms like increasing abdominal girth. even when not pregnant and weight gain (but in very advanced stages a patient may have cachexia and weight loss too).
For ovarian tumours, treatment is surgical and the tumours are removed if it is benign. But in cases Of ovarian cancer, debulking surgery is performed, followed by chemotherapy.
If you are not pregnant, but your tummy is showing up, you are bloated and you have gained weight even when you have not changed your eating habits, it may be due to fibroids. Fibroids. in most cases are asymptomatic and mostly diagnosed during routine examinations or an ultrasound, Very big fibroids can make the abdomen swell up.
There are also chances of Single or multiple fibroids. However, the exact cause of fibroids is still unknown, but some women with high estrogen levels are more prone to get fibroids. Also, those who have a family history and some ethnic populations seem to have more chances of having fibroids (such as African females have more chances of having fibroids, compared to Asian women). Fibroids, if very heavy, may cause weight gain.
There are various treatment options available, but for large fibroids, surgical treatment is the best option. Some of the conservative options are medical management and uterine artery embolization (UAE). If the surgical option is considered for women who wish to have children, then the fibroids should be removed (myomectomy) and if the reproductive stage has ended and the age is appropriate (no other health issues), hysterectomy (removal of uterus) should be carried out.
Obesity/ weight gain is an important concern in the current era and should be addressed properly, as it has multiple problems associated with it, As discussed above, the hormonal disorder, PCOS is not only associated with weight gain but also has various other long-term health concerns such as infertility, developing Type 2 diabetes at an earlier age, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, stroke and many other health risks.
Nevertheless, PCOS is a lifestyle disorder and can be well controlled by taking care of the diet as well as exercise. PCOS can also be controlled by incorporating simple lifestyle changes and by incorporating certain exercises daily.