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How to Lose Weight With PCOS

author image Holly Case
Holly Case has written professionally since 2000. She is a former contributing editor for "ePregnancy" magazine and a current editor for a natural food magazine. She has extensive experience writing about nutrition, pregnancy, infertility, alternative medicine, children's health and women's health issues. Case holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and professional writing from Saginaw Valley State University.
How to Lose Weight With PCOS
Healthy dieting is one component in losing weight with PCOS. Photo Credit: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health condition associated with weight gain, acne, infertility and abnormal hair growth. According to the website, as many as one in 10 women have PCOS. Although experts do not know exactly what causes PCOS, many researchers believe it may be related to insulin. Other factors appear to be an imbalance of hormones and heredity, because many women with PCOS also have a mother or sister with the condition. Losing weight quickly with PCOS is difficult, but taking the right steps can help you begin to slim down.

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Step 1

Avoid processed carbohydrates, such as pasta.
Avoid processed carbohydrates, such as pasta. Photo Credit: Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images

Change your diet. According to dietician Martha McKittrick, a contributing writer to the website, women with PCOS should not approach dieting the same way as other women trying to lose weight. Because many believe PCOS is linked to insulin resistance, a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet may be the most successful for weight loss. McKittrick recommends avoiding processed carbohydrates, such as pasta, cookies and white bread, and getting plenty of lean meats, dairy, fruits, vegetables and small amounts of whole grains.

Step 2

Exercise. Photo Credit: Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

Exercise. Regular physical exercise can lead to weight loss and is particularly important for PCOS. The website 3 Fat Chicks on a Diet says that cardiovascular exercise can improve insulin resistance. Combine aerobic exercise, such as walking, swimming and dancing with weight training. Muscle burns more calories even at rest. However, because many women with PCOS have higher testosterone levels than average, use light weights so that you don't get bulky muscles.

Step 3

Ask your doctor about medications for PCOS.
Ask your doctor about medications for PCOS. Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images

Ask your doctor about medications for PCOS. Medications can correct the underlying hormone imbalances or insulin resistance, making it easier to lose weight. According to, doctors may prescribe birth control pills to balance your hormones, or insulin-sensitizing medications, such as glucophage, to treat the insulin resistance.

Step 4

Quit smoking.
Quit smoking. Photo Credit: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Quit smoking. A 2009 study at University Hospital of Erlangen in Germany, led by Dr. Susanne Cupisti, found that smoking raised insulin levels and free testosterone in women with PCOS. Increasing insulin and testosterone will make PCOS worse, making it harder to lose weight.

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