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PCOS and Weight Loss Surgery

Posted on 08 Jan, 2024
PCOS and Weight Loss Surgery

PCOS is a debilitating condition that can have serious impacts on weight and weight gain. This leads many with PCOS to consider weight loss surgery. So, can bariatric surgery help with the condition? Does having PCOS qualify you for the surgery?

PCOS stands out for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, a hormonal disorder that affects about 1 in 10 Australian women. The condition is associated with irregular menstruation, excessive facial and body hair, acne, reduced fertility, increased risk of diabetes, and obesity. 

Sadly, polycystic ovary syndrome cannot be cured. But the symptoms can be managed.

As one of the most common symptoms of PCOS is weight gain, it's not uncommon for individuals to also experience a range of obesity related medical concerns, like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. As you can imagine, these conditions in combination with obesity itself, make many with PCOS prime candidates for weight loss procedures like gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, or even gastric banding.

For many, bariatric surgery is a way to alleviate the symptoms of PCOS and regain control over body weight and quality of life.

Let's delve further into the relationship between PCOS and weight loss procedures.

Managing Weight Gain From Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

 Almost 60% of those with PCOS will experience obesity, due to the disorder's propensity for excessive weight gain.

The weight gain itself is a direct result of the way that PCOS affects the body's ability to use insulin. The insulin hormone converts sugars and starches from food into energy, and those with PCOS are often left with unused insulin, resulting in increased production of male hormones, creating a hormonal imbalance within the body. A higher level of hormones is what results in symptoms like body hair growth, acne, irregular period cycles, and weight gain. 

For those suffering from PCOS, shedding this excess weight that suddenly appears (commonly around the abdomen) is a constant struggle. Aside from the way that weight gain can affect our self-esteem, if not managed, this weight gain can lead to health-related concerns such as diabetes, an increased risk of heart disease, and a range of other obesity health conditions. 



Does Having PCOS Qualify for Weight Loss Surgery?

No, it's not an automatic qualifying factor. However, if you do have obesity, your BMI is over 40, and you have other obesity medical concerns, you will likely qualify.

Weight loss surgery aims to address both the complexities of PCOS and the challenges posed by obesity by removing a large portion of the body’s excess weight. Bariatric surgery has been proven as an effective solution to aid in weight management, potentially mitigating PCOS symptoms. 

If you have PCOS and are struggling with excessive weight gain, we encourage you to visit a weight loss clinic like Central Coast Surgery to talk through your options.


How Weight Loss Surgery Can Help With PCOS

Weight Loss

Conventional methods of losing weight such as diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes are much less impactful for PCOS women due to the disorder’s propensity to quickly add weight where it is lost. The clear benefit of bariatric surgery is that it can certainly help with weight loss - and quickly.

Bariatric surgery has historically shown consistent and significantly better weight loss results in patients than those who chose to opt for non-invasive surgical procedures. Studies revealed that about 47 to 80% of excess weight is following bariatric surgery. 

Losing this significant amount of excess weight can help greatly in restoring the emotional state, body image, and quality of life of PCOS women. But it is so much more effective when lifestyle behaviours are also adapted following the procedure too.

Boost Metabolic Rate

PCOS can cause metabolic syndrome, which makes it difficult to process glucose and insulin hormones. Bariatric surgery can prevent or reverse this syndrome, helping to reduce the risk of related medical conditions such as hypotension and diabetes. 

Post-weight loss surgery results have shown improvements in PCOS women for fasting glucose and insulin resistance. 


There is more research coming out that shows the evidence between reproductive ability and weight loss surgery for PCOS patients. In some studies, it has been shown to improve pregnancy and fertility outcomes and help restore the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis). 



What Is The Best Weight Loss Surgery for PCOS?

There are three common procedures for weight loss surgery that can help with PCOS:

  1. Laparoscopic gastric banding, or “lap-band’ as it is more commonly referred to, involves the insertion of a band around the upper stomach to reduce its size and consequently, the amount of food that makes you feel “full”. This type of weight loss surgery is reversible if required.

  2. Laparoscopic gastric bypass is a procedure where the stomach is divided into two parts that are connected to the small intestine. This bypass of the “stomach” portion of the digestive process results in a reduced absorption of fat and starches.

  3. The laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy involves the removal of a portion of your stomach, making it smaller so that you feel full quicker and end up eating less. 

Out of these three procedures, there is no “best” weight loss surgery procedure. The effectiveness of weight loss surgery can vary from individual to individual depending on their specific medical conditions. Typically, a weight loss surgeon will be able to provide expert advice on which procedure would be the most suitable for someone with PCOS. 

Gastric sleeve and bypass surgeries are commonly practiced for PCOS as they provide a long term solution, where gastric banding can often have temporary benefits.

Bariatric Surgery at Central Coast Surgery 

Bariatric surgery can effectively resolve the symptoms of PCOS, but the procedure is not without its risks.

Before proceeding with weight loss surgery, you should speak with a qualified medical professional to understand your options and the potential outcomes of the surgery. It is important to understand that weight loss surgery is not a one-size-fits-all solution to PCOS and that other forms of holistic treatment will help in providing relief. 

If you have PCOS, you're not an immediate candidate for weight loss surgery. But there's a good chance that other contributing factors from the condition will make you eligible. Our bariatric surgeons will be happy to discuss your available options and help you find a lasting solution to PCOS and weight loss.