For morbidly obese women, all of the usual dangers of obesity apply. The risk of many diseases like heart disease and diabetes is elevated. Joint problems are another common side effect of obesity, too. But there’s one health problem that affects morbidly obese women in high numbers.
PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a condition only women can suffer from because it involves the reproductive organs. It can cause problems in heavy teenagers as well as adult morbidly obese women.
Not every obese female will suffer from PCOS, but the numbers and percentages are high. This is because PCOS usually occurs before diabetes occurs. It’s often considered a precursor to diabetes, because it’s believed to be caused by insulin resistance, the same thing that causes Type II diabetes.
Insulin resistance occurs in morbidly obese women and men and can lead to diabetes in both sexes. But for women it can also lead to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
When a person is overweight, her body stops being efficient at removing glucose from the bloodstream. It’s not just body fat that contributes to this though. It’s much more about what a person eats than what a person weights.
A diet rich in foods that are absorbed quickly into the blood stream causes larger amounts of insulin to be released into the bloodstream to help remove the glucose. Simple carbs that cause this rapid insulin response include foods that contain flour and sugar. These foods cause a rapid rise in blood sugar and then insulin levels.
After needing to produce extra amounts of insulin for a prolonged time, the body can no longer keep up. It can’t produce enough insulin to efficiently remove the blood glucose. When this starts to occur, it’s known as insulin resistance. This is the stage when PCOS will typically develop in morbidly obese women.
It can also occur in women of a healthy weight, if their diets are rich in simple carbs and foods that cause a fast insulin response.
The insulin resistance will usually lead to diabetes, but the PCOS in the meantime causes other problems. The syndrome causes elevated levels of testosterone in the blood stream. This can lead to problems with fertility including an inability to get pregnant.
Because the hormone levels are off, very often a morbidly obese woman with PCOS will skip periods, have shorter periods, or stop having them altogether. This can occur in teens to and those who don’t have a weight problem. But it is more common among people who carry extra weight.
Acne can flare up as result of PCOS and the elevated testosterone. Hair loss can occur, much as it does in a man with male pattern baldness. And hair growth is often stimulated because of the male hormone that causes hair growth in men.
PCOS is a sign that a person has a problem with insulin resistance and is at high risk of developing diabetes. Fortunately for morbidly obese women and anyone with the condition, the switch to a proper diet can alleviate the symptoms.