Weight gain can be considered as an epidemic in modern times. Apart from medical causes, there are some gynaecological issues due to which a woman can put on weight. When the causes are arranged according to their organ of origin, it can be linked to these gynaecological issues that can probably cause weight gain:
Uterine – Tumours like fibroids
Ovarian – Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Ovarian tumours/cancers
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
This is the usual hormonal concern faced by women of the reproductive age. The ovaries release an egg with the help of follicles during every menstruation cycle. When affected with PCOS, these follicles stop growing and hence don’t release an egg. Under a scan, the follicles are depicted as small fluid-filled spaces, hence the name polycystic ovaries.
Due to delayed ovulation and hormonal changes, there is an increase in insulin resistance in the body. This leads to the formation of male hormones. Coupled together, these are visible as irregular cycles, weight gain, acne, infertility and hirsutism. In PCOS, this increased insulin resistance is the primary cause of deranged carbohydrate metabolism. This is the primary cause of the accumulated fat, resulting in weight gain. Thus, it is difficult to lose weight when a woman has PCOS.
- The basic procedure for PCOS is diet, exercise and lifestyle changes. The preferred diet is the one which is low in carbohydrates and rich in protein. The scale of exercise on a day-to-day basis should be moderate to severe. Work towards maintaining an ideal Body Mass Index (BMI). Physical activity and weight help you reach the ideal BMI.
- Secondary treatment for PCOS deal with symptoms. Individual treatments are given for acne, irregular cycles, hair growth and infertility.
Ovarian Tumours/ Ovarian Cancers
Large ovarian tumours like germ cell tumours could also be the cause of weight gain. In some cases, the tumours could grow as big as to weigh in kilograms. In such cases, symptoms like bloating, abdominal fullness and weight gain are evident. It is important to note that in ovarian cancers, the tumours grow in bulk. They remain hidden and undetected until the growth is massive. The patient usually suffers from symptoms like increasing abdominal girth and weight gain (even when not pregnant and; but in very advanced stages, they may have cachexia as well as weight loss).
For ovarian tumours, the treatment is surgical. The tumours are removed if they are benign. But in cases of ovarian cancer, a de-bulking surgery followed by chemotherapy is adopted.
Obesity/ weight gain is an important concern in the current era and should be addressed properly as it has multiple associated problems
If your tummy is showing up, you are bloated, or you have gained weight even when you have not changed your eating habits, and you are not pregnant, all these symptoms generally add up to fibroids. Fibroids are asymptomatic and are usually diagnosed during routine examinations or an ultrasound. Massive fibroids are readily evident as they can make your abdomen swell up.
They are either single or multiple fibroids. However, the exact cause behind the growth of fibroids is still unknown. Research states that some women with high estrogen levels are vulnerable to develop fibroids. Those with family history and few ethnic populations seem to have good chances of developing fibroids (comparatively, African females have better chances of developing fibroids than Asian women). If fibroids are massive, they may also cause weight gain.
There are various options available. For large fibroids, usually, surgical treatment is suggested. Some of the conservative options include uterine artery embolisation (UAE) and medical management. Speak to your Gynaecologist for the suggestions that best suit your condition.
Obesity/weight gain is an essential concern in the current era and should be adequately addressed, as there are multiple problems associated with it. PCOS is not just associated with weight gain, but also with various other long-term concerns like infertility, hypertension, developing Type 2 diabetes at an earlier age, stroke, cardiovascular diseases and many other risks.