What Does a PCOS Belly Look Like? | PCOS Belly Fat | Ultimate Guide

In this article, you will find a piece of detailed information about what does a PCOS belly look like. It is a condition that affects many women of reproductive age. It is essential to know about polycystic ovarian syndrome before discussing PCOS belly. PCOS belly is basically stubborn lower belly fat found in many women. PCOS belly is different from other weight gains. It indicates that lean girls also suffer from PCOS. After reading the detailed article you will be able to have full knowledge of PCOS belly and polycystic ovarian syndrome.

What Does A PCOS BELLY LOOK LIKE
What Does A PCOS BELLY LOOK LIKE

What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is basically a condition in which there is excess production of androgen hormone which is actually a male sex hormone present in less amount in females. The name polycystic ovarian syndrome indicates many cysts (fluid-filled sacs) in the ovaries. However, many women with PCOS don’t have cysts in their ovaries but they are still diagnosed with PCOS.

In the normal process, the first 15 days of menstruation two hormones work namely follicular stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone. They take part in ovulation. Mature eggs are released from the ovaries and stay for some time out of the uterus for fertilization with male sperm. If fertilization doesn’t occur uterus starts to shed blood and your period starts.

And the next 15 days of menstruation the other two hormone works, estrogen and progesterone. They send inhibiting signals to the hypothalamus to stop the release of FSH and LH. After that uterus again starts to thicken for pregnancy.

But due to some reasons, ovulation doesn’t occur. Hormonal imbalance occurs and FSH & LH do not perform their function properly. Many small cysts form in the ovaries which in turn release androgens (male hormone). Women with PCOS have high levels of androgens.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

What Does a PCOS Belly Look Like?

 The shape of a PCOS belly is different from all other types of PCOS. It’s usually large, bloated, and fat deposits in the lower abdominal area but can also be small and round, depending on genes and other factors. It involves fat accumulation in visceral parts of the body in the lower abdomen and typically feels hard to touch.

A PCOS belly has a high waist-to-hip ratio of >0.87 (apple body shape) because they have PCOS belly fat. Still, some people may not have any noticeable stomach changes. In that case, watch out for other symptoms of PCOS.

What are the risks of PCOS belly?

  • High blood pressure Higher weight causes more chances of developing high blood pressure as the heart tends to do more work. Central obesity, which means that high-fat deposits in the abdominal area, is particularly linked to high BP even more than just being overweight. 
  •  High cholesterol and triglycerides Central obesity particularly cause high triglycerides by itself. If you are genetically prone to high triglycerides, the combination can cause greater complications of high cholesterol, such as heart disease. 
  • Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes High belly fat means you have a risk of higher insulin levels and insulin resistance as your body cells are not able to uptake glucose. This can progress to the development of type 2 diabetes and its many complications. 
  • High levels of inflammation Excess belly fat means your body is inflamed. The inflammation causes many side effects, which include fatigue, mental depression, and a higher risk of heart-related complications. 
  • Infertility and missed periods Hormone imbalances, abdominal fat, cysts in ovaries, high male hormone levels, and inflammation together contribute to female infertility. High male hormone levels inhibit the ovulation of the female eggs, which become cysts rather than mature eggs.
  • Certain cancers Women with PCOS bellies do not ovulate as much as other women, the endometrium doesn’t shed its blood completely each month. That will lead to a higher risk of endometrial cancers. 

If you still want to know what does a PCOS belly look like? Here are some causes and symptoms that will give you brief knowledge.

PCOS Causes

  • Insulin resistance
  • Genetics
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Metabolism defects
  • Inflammation
  • Obesity
  • High levels of androgens

PCOS Symptoms

  • Missed periods, irregular periods, or very light periods
  • Large ovaries or many cysts in it
  •  Hirsutism (Excessive body hair, in the chest, stomach, and back)
  • Weight gain, especially in the abdominal region
  • Acne or oily skin
  • Male-pattern baldness or thinning hair
  • Infertility
  • Small pieces of excess skin on the neck or armpits (skin tags)
  • Dark or thick skin patches on the back of the neck, in the armpits, and under the breasts
PCOS Signs and Symptoms
PCOS Signs and Symptoms

How Do I Know If I Have PCOS?

Through Symptoms

If you have at least 2 of these symptoms given below you will be diagnosed as a PCOS patient

  • Irregular Periods OR Missed Periods
  • Higher levels of male hormones (androgens) shown in blood tests or through symptoms like acne, male-pattern balding, or extra hair growth on your face, chin, or body, high BMI (overweight)
  • Cystic ovaries as shown in an ultrasound exam

Through Blood Tests

Blood tests: Your doctor or other health care provider will take a small amount of blood from a vein in your arm. Lab tests will measure the levels of these hormones:

  • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) level might be lower than normal, or even normal if you have PCOS.
  • Luteinizing hormone (LH) could be higher than normal.
  • Testosterone would be higher in women with PCOS.
  • Estrogen levels may be normal or high if you have PCOS.
  • Your level of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) may be lower than normal.
  • Androstenedione may be at a higher-than-normal level.
  • Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG): This is a hormone test that can check to see if you’re pregnant.
  • Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH): This test can check the function of ovaries and we will estimate menopause time. The levels would be higher with PCOS.

PCOS Treatment

Life Style and Management

  • We should take adequate sleep at least 7 to 9 hours a day
  • Stay active
  • Do not take the stress
  • Loose weight if you are obese
  • Stay hydrated
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking
  • Avoid processed foods that are high in sugar and salts
  • Avoid High-glycemic foods

Dietary Management

Add these foods to your daily diet

  • High-fiber vegetables like cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts greens, including red leaf lettuce and arugula green and red peppers beans and lentils, almonds, berries, sweet potatoes, winter squash, pumpkin.
  • Lean proteins like tofu, chicken, and fish don’t provide fiber but are a very filling and nutritious dietary option for people with PCOS.
  • Anti-inflammatory foods and spices like tomatoes, kale, spinach, almonds and walnuts, olive oil, and fruits, like blueberries and strawberries, and fatty fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and sardines.

Exercise Management

These types of exercises should be included in daily routine

  • Aerobic/Cardiovascular Exercises
  • High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
  • Strength Training/Resistance Exercises
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Cycling/Spinning
  • Circuit Training

Supplements For PCOS

These are effective supplements to reduce the symptoms of PCOS and PCOS belly

  • Inositol
  • Vitamin D
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Chromium
  • N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
  • Cinnamon
  • Berberine
  • Myo-Inositol and D-Chiro-Inositol (combination)
  • Probiotics
  • Iron

Here I am going to give you some answers about PCOS belly and your query about what does a PCOS belly look like? You will get to know better information by reading these answers.

FAQ’s

Can PCOS cause a big tummy?

In most cases, PCOS causes fat deposition in the lower abdominal area due to insulin resistance and hormone imbalance.

What is the body shape of a woman with PCOS?

Due to high levels of testosterone, women tend to be overweight and obese. As women have traditional pear shapes but with PCOS, women will have Apple shaped body

Is a PCOS belly hard or soft?

As there is visceral fat accumulation in the lower abdomen, the PCOS belly typically feels hard, stiff, and firm.

How do you control your PCOS belly?

These are some ways to control PCOS belly:
Focus on a diet that is rich in fiber.
Should add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet.
Take complex carbohydrates to regulate your blood sugar levels.
Prioritize lean protein.
Add healthy fats like nuts.
Manage stress and get good quality sleep.
Do exercise daily.

At what age does PCOS start?

PCOS can develop at any age. PCOS often starts after the first menstrual period, as young as age 11 or 12. It can also develop at the ages of 20 or 30.

What exercises overcome PCOS?

Cardio
Strength training
Mind-body exercises
Focus on endurance
Prioritise HIIT
Yoga
Pilates
Cycling/Spinning
Circuit Training

Conclusion

As a dietitian, I recommend PCOS patients they must add lifestyle changes to their daily routines. To prevent PCOS belly they should avoid high glycemic and refined foods. They should include daily exercises to prevent PCOS Belly. 30 minutes of daily walking is the best way to start. Dietary modification to your diet should be the utmost preference. After that supplements should be added to your diet like inositol, calcium, etc.

In a nutshell, It’s only you who can reduce or reverse your PCOS just be consistent and determine your goals.

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