When a woman struggles:
- to get pregnant
- losing weight
- is experiencing other unexplained issues, such as irregular periods
they may become frustrated with pinpointing the cause and finding a treatment or solution. One of the top causes of those issues mentioned is a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS.
What is PCOS?
PCOS is a hormonal disorder that causes enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer edges. Although the exact cause of the condition is unknown, experts believe it may be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Symptoms include:
- irregular menstruation
- excess hair growth
It’s estimated that 5 to 6 million women in the United States suffer from PCOS. Half of those women are classified as obese.
Help Sufferers of PCOS with Weight Loss Surgery
Several go-to treatments for PCOS include a combination of lifestyle changes, such as low-calorie diets, exercise, and birth control therapy. However, one of the most durable and effective treatment options that women suffering from PCOS have is weight loss surgery.
Weight loss surgery is not only a proven successful option for the treatment of morbid obesity, but can help sufferers of PCOS. The surgery can result in a notable improvement of PCOS symptoms. Women who have undergone bariatric surgery have reported:
- improvement in menstrual regularity
- less irregular hair growth
- betterment of their metabolic profile
What Weight Loss Do For Infertility?
Further studies suggest that female fertility can also improve with successful weight loss surgery. While not all infertility is PCOS-related, it remains one of the top reasons for infertility. At Blossom Bariatrics, we have seen hundreds of women who had suffered from infertility pre-surgery go on to have healthy, full-term pregnancies after their procedure.
In my practice, we have received referrals for women suffering from the effects of PCOS who otherwise may have never considered bariatric surgery. They often come to us after multiple failed rounds of IVF therapy. Some may see it as a “last-ditch effort” or a “Hail Mary” attempt at having a baby, but — time after time — we have seen it work. The consideration of weight loss surgery should be first; not last. It’s cheaper than multiple rounds of IVF and can lead to healthier pregnancies.
In fact, bariatric surgery can be so successful in combating infertility that I often caution my patients that “Barren Karens” can easily become “Fertile Myrtles” following surgery. They should be careful if pregnancy is not in their post-surgery plans, as becoming pregnant unintentionally after undergoing the procedure is not uncommon.
Weight Loss Surgery at Blossom Bariatrics
Weight loss surgery is not a new concept. It has been around for years helping obese people:
- shed dangerous excess weight
- improve their health and longevity
Many surgeries are performed laparoscopically, such as Blossom Bariatrics’ Safe Sleeve procedure. These surgeries reduce the size of the stomach, limiting the amount of food the stomach can hold. There is also gastric bypass surgery, which creates a small pouch and a bypass for food—this procedure results in fewer calories and nutrients being absorbed by the body. Your doctor can recommend what procedure would be best for you.
Help Stop Suffering from PCOS
Weight loss through surgery can lead to many positive outcomes, from being able to quit blood pressure medication to dialing back a diagnosis of pre-diabetes or Type-2 diabetes. PCOS is an often painful condition that negatively affects the lives of millions of women, though bariatric surgery can give women options to live healthier and more effectively treat their symptoms. Studies have shown that losing as little as 5-10% of one’s body weight can significantly reduce PCOS symptoms. Women with PCOS can often struggle with shedding weight through diet and exercise alone, making weight loss surgery a welcomed option to help them get to that effective percentage of weight loss to alleviate their symptoms.
The more we learn about weight loss surgery and its positive effect on PCOS symptoms, the more confident we are in recommending procedures to patients suffering from it. Those suffering needlessly from the litany of PCOS-related ailments should seriously consider weight loss surgery as a first-choice option for treatment.
About the Doctor: Dr. July decided to dedicate her career to bariatric surgery during her final year of general surgery residency training. While initially moving toward surgical oncology she was fortunate to spend an elective rotation with bariatric surgeon Dr. Emma Patterson in Portland, OR. When she saw the positive impact on patients, happy clinics, career satisfaction, technically challenging cases, and overall fun practice, she changed paths to a fellowship in bariatric surgery and never looked back.