Obesity and health of women with PCOS

Posted December 16, 2020

Studies conducted by the INCT Hormona’s team showed that high Body Mass Index (BMI) is, at the same time, a chronic inflammatory disease and a risk factor for women’s health.

This relationship was confirmed by the team of Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in the abstract Adiposity Indexes as Phenotype-Specific Markers of Preclinical Metabolic Alterations and Cardiovascular Risk in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Cross-Sectional Study (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28201826/) and in the study Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: New Insights on the Puzzle of Adiposity, Chronic Low-grade Inflammation And Metabolic Disturbances (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32187270/).

More recently, the article produced by the working group of the Human Reproduction Unit at the Gynecology and Obstetrics Department of Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, from Universidade de São Paulo, entitled Association of measures of central fat accumulation indices with body fat distribution and metabolic, hormonal, and inflammatory parameters in women with polycystic ovary syndrome, confirmed the previous results. The survey investigated the association among Visceral Adiposity Index (VAI), lipid accumulation product (LAP), body fat percentage, and android/gynoid ratio. The full abstract may be read at the link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31365630/.

According to the researchers Gislaine Satyko Kogure and Rosana Maria dos Reis, obesity leads to an increased risk of adverse gestational outcomes and reduced reproductive capacity. “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine metabolic disease characterized by androgen excess and affects a significant percentage of women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS have some degree of insulin resistance (IR) in muscle and adipose tissues, related to intrinsic changes in insulin receptors,” they explain.

“IR is an important factor in excessive adipogenesis and lipogenese, predisposing these women to fat accumulation in the abdominal region, regardless of BMI, and obesity, regardless of age. These characteristics, in turn, exacerbate hyperandrogenism and worsen IR, i.e. IR and hyperandrogenism represent the link between obesity and PCOS,” they add.

Studies also show that obesity in PCOS is closely associated with the severity of reproductive disorders, such as infertility, and endocrine disorders, such as high serum androgen levels, with worsening of IR, and with reduced glucose tolerance, which are determining factors for the development of metabolic syndrome, type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, arterial hypertension, and other metabolic and inflammatory comorbidities.

Physical Activity and PCOS

Recently, the study Effects of continuous and intermittent aerobic physical training on hormonal and metabolic profile, and body composition in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized controlled trial, conducted by the group with the support of INTC, assessed the effects of 16-week continuous (CA) and intermittent (IA) aerobic training, compared with a control group, on hormone and metabolic characteristics and body composition in a sample of thin, overweight, and obese women with PCOS.

“We observed different responses, such as improved lipid profile and reduced hip circumference in the CA group, and reduced free androgen index and waist‐to‐hip ratio in the IA group. Both protocols were effective in reducing waist circumference and serum testosterone levels related to PCOS; however, these protocol did not promote changes in weight, body composition, and indicators of lean mass and body fat,” comment the doctors.

“However, we observed that, after 16 weeks, there was an increase in waist circumference, body distribution, and total fat percentage in the no training (control) group,” they warn. “The results are encouraging, providing evidence that aerobic training prevents increases in body fat, and reinforce the finding that different intensities of training may bring different benefits to the health of women with PCOS,” they conclude.

The full abstract may be read at the link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32286711/