Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder affecting up to 15% of women. One of the most troubling aspects of PCOS is excess belly fat accumulation, often referred to as a PCOS belly. Let’s understand what causes this abdominal fat bulge and how to know if you have it.
What is PCOS?
PCOS stands for polycystic ovary syndrome. It is characterized by a hormonal imbalance where the ovaries produce excessive amounts of male hormones called androgens.
This frequently leads to symptoms like:
While the exact causes are unclear, genetics, insulin resistance, inflammation, and obesity are contributors. There is no cure yet, but symptoms can be managed through medications, supplements, diet, and exercise.
How Do You Know If You Have A PCOS Belly?
Not all women with PCOS develop a noticeable belly bulge. Here are some key signs and symptoms that may indicate PCOS belly fat:
Keep in mind you can still have a PCOS belly even if your weight is in the normal range. It’s the hormonal imbalance that drives fat to the midsection.
What Causes A PCOS Belly?
The primary mechanisms behind PCOS belly fat are elevated androgen levels coupled with insulin resistance in PCOS.
Higher androgen causes visceral fat cells to expand and accumulate around organs in the abdomen. Insulin resistance promotes the conversion of excess blood glucose into stored abdominal fat instead of energy.
Genetics, diet, sedentary lifestyle, chronic stress, and inflammation can worsen insulin resistance and belly fat deposition. But the root cause is the hormonal imbalance.
How To Get Rid Of My PCOS Belly?
Here are some effective, research-backed ways to tackle PCOS belly fat:
▪️ Dietary Changes
Follow a PCOS-friendly, anti-inflammatory diet low in refined carbs and sugar. Focus on lean proteins, healthy fats, non-starchy veggies, and high-fiber foods.
Aim for 30-60 minutes of activity like walking, swimming, and yoga most days to improve insulin sensitivity and burn visceral fat. Strength training is also recommended.
▪️ Stress Management
Try meditation, breathing exercises, adequate sleep, and relaxing hobbies. High cortisol worsens PCOS belly fat.
▪️ Targeted Supplements
Inositol, Omega-3s, vitamin D, chromium, berberine may support fat loss and hormone regulation in PCOS.
▪️ Intermittent Fasting
Fasting for 14-16 hours overnight and eating within an 8-10 hour window can boost fat burning.
▪️ Medical Interventions
Medications like metformin, spironolactone, and birth control pills may be prescribed to balance hormones and reduce belly fat.
As a last resort, liposuction can directly remove belly fat but does not treat the hormonal root causes. Lifestyle measures and natural supplements should be tried first.
While stubborn and distressing, a PCOS belly caused by hormonal imbalance and insulin resistance can be decreased through targeted natural and medical treatments. Diet, exercise, stress relief, strategic supplementation, and medications can all help regain a slimmer waistline.
Consistency is key – even a modest 5-10% fat loss can reboot hormones and metabolism to reduce PCOS belly fat and related health risks.
No, some women with PCOS do not accumulate significant belly fat. But central obesity and visceral fat in the abdomen region is a very common symptom.
Yes, it is possible to have PCOS related belly fat even if your overall BMI is within the normal range.
Birth control pills can help regulate hormones and reduce androgen levels. This may in turn help decrease PCOS-related belly fat.
Yes, exercise can be extremely beneficial for reducing PCOS belly fat by improving insulin sensitivity, burning calories and visceral fat.
Inositol, berberine, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, chromium, green tea extract and alpha lipoic acid are some of the top natural supplements used for PCOS weight loss.