Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is a condition that causes infertility in women because of infrequent ovulation, decreased progesterone production, insulin resistance and cystic ovaries. Not all women with PCOS will have all of these characteristics. Women with PCOS also often struggle with acne, excess hair, irregular menstrual periods and obesity. Being overweight may contribute to symptoms of PCOS, including insulin resistance, which occurs when the body must secrete more insulin to get blood glucose into the cells. Healthy weight loss, through diet and exercise, may positively affect PCOS symptoms, but crash diets are likely to offer little benefit.
The hCG Diet
The hCG diet is a weight loss plan that promises quick results -- losing up to 30 pounds per month. The hCG diet cuts back daily calories to only 500 per day, combined with either an injection or an oral dose of hCG hormone. Taking the hCG may help with hunger pangs, headaches and irritability associated with eating only 500 calories per day. Quick weight loss through the hCG diet could work to treat PCOS among overweight women, however, this diet does not necessarily result in long-term weight loss and may ultimately cause health risks.
Human Chorionicgonadotropin, hCG, is a type of hormone that is normally produced by the placenta early in pregnancy. HCG is also used for the treatment of infertility among some women who have difficulties with ovulation. It works to stimulate the ovarian follicle to release an egg, which, if fertilized, could result in pregnancy. For women who suffer from PCOS and who have problems with ovulation, taking hCG through the hCG diet could stimulate the body to ovulate.
Women who have PCOS and who are overweight may see a reduction in symptoms by losing weight. According to Marshall University, for some women, weight loss may affect the body's hormones, significantly reducing PCOS symptoms when returning to a normal weight. By losing weight, women who are overweight and suffering from PCOS may develop regular menstrual cycles and may have improved fertility.
Although you may lose weight on the hCG diet, which could help symptoms of PCOS, you may also experience some negative side effects. Taking hCG through this method could cause headaches, leg cramps, hair thinning or blood clots. Additionally, eating only 500 calories a day does not provide enough nutrients that your body needs, and you will eventually need to eat more food to avoid malnutrition. According to "U.S. News and World Report," long-term use of the hCG diet could lead to electrolyte imbalance or bone and muscle loss because it involves so few calories. The risks associated with this type of diet may outweigh the benefits of weight loss.
- Marshall University: Patient Information—Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Disease Process and Treatment
- U.S. News and World Report: HCG Diet Dangers: Is Fast Weight Loss Worth the Risk?
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Infertility in Women--Medications
- The Oral hCG Research Center: The hCG (human Chorionicgonadotropin) Method for Obesity Treatment: A Neglected Issue