What Does a PCOS Belly Look Like? Here’s the Entire Picture

It’s normal to wonder whether the extra pounds you’ve gained are because of PCOS. The bulging belly doesn’t add to our confidence either trust me, I know.

So, you must be wondering: what does a PCOS belly look like?

If you have polycystic ovary syndrome, your belly might appear to be bulgy. The extra fat may go specifically to your lower abdomen. The excess fat might cushion your internal organs. You might even have a bigger waistline that you can pinch.

The bile acid levels reduce due to PCOS. It also alters metabolic function and influences the digestive process. All these may lead to PCOS bloating, which can be very painful at times.

The good news is you can do several things to get rid of it. I’ve explained everything you need to know about PCOS and some tips on how to get rid of it. So, without further ado, let’s get right into it.

What Does PCOS Belly Look Like?

PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome occurs when you have too many cysts in your ovaries. This disorder is also widely known as a belly fat disease. A PCOS belly has excess visceral fat around the internal organs. You may also notice hair on your lower abdomen.

Most of the weight accumulates around the lower stomach and may appear bulgy. If you have PCOS, your body might not produce insulin sufficiently. The insulin might also not be working well in other cases.

what-does-a-pcos-belly-look-like

This inefficient insulin production is the reason you gain those extra pounds in your stomach area. Besides, hormonal imbalance also promotes belly fat and weight gain in women.

It’s entirely normal to feel bloated from time to time. But if it happens often, you might want to pay it a bit more attention. PCOS belly may also be the result of PCOS bloating.

Studies have linked the changes in gut composition with PCOS. The bile acid levels reduce due to PCOS. It also alters metabolic function and influences the digestive process. All these may lead to PCOS bloating, which can be very painful at times.

Factors Influencing PCOS Belly 

While PCOS belly typically accompanies PCOS, sometimes you might trigger it even more. Several factors may influence this weight gain and bloated stomach. For example, the most notable ones are:

Hormone Fluctuations

PCOS is a hormonal disorder. So, disruptions in the hormone levels come hand in hand with the condition. Women have a higher concentration of androgen hormones if they have PCOS.

Insulin Resistance

Women with PCOS become increasingly resistant to insulin. This resistance prevents you from using the glucose on your body and makes it resistant to insulin.

High levels of insulin may trigger hormonal imbalance and enhance androgen production. Women with PCOS are most times apple-shaped for high insulin levels.

It may also be the reason for excess hair growth, acne, and irregular period in women.

Risks of PCOS Belly and Related Weight Gain

Among every kind of fat, the abdominal is the most dangerous. Women with PCOS are most likely to suffer from several health conditions for weight gain. It includes the following.

Hypertension

The risks of hypertension increase as you gain weight, which occurs frequently with PCOS. Several studies link PCOS with hypertension and metabolic syndrome.

PCOS can also lead to high levels of cholesterol. Besides, you may also develop abnormal levels of fat. HDL cholesterol levels decrease, and LDL cholesterol levels increase.

Key factors that influence the onset of hypertension are obesity and insulin resistance. These factors already contribute to belly fat in PCOS, and consequently, hypertension.

Type 2 diabetes

As I’ve mentioned before, women with PCOS become increasingly resistant to insulin. The body can no longer utilize glucose properly.

Over time, the insulin levels become consistently high. And so, they develop a greater risk of type 2 diabetes. 

Infertility

The cyst in the ovary interferes with ovulation when you’re suffering from PCOS. To be pregnant, sperm needs to fertilize your healthy egg.

As a result, you may suffer from infertility or have trouble getting pregnant. However, you can get pregnant with some available treatment options.

High cholesterol

PCOS can also lead to high levels of cholesterol. Besides, you may also develop abnormal levels of fat. HDL cholesterol levels decrease, and LDL cholesterol levels increase.

Some studies show how abnormal levels of estrogen and insulin are at the root of these changes. High cholesterol may also result in and contribute to the weight gain associated with PCOS.

Endometrial Cancer

Women with PCOS remain at a higher risk for endometrial cancer. The risks increase the more irregular the period gets. When the cycle is regular, the endometrium gets frequent exposure to hormones like estrogen. This thickens the lining as ovulation occurs.

endometrial-cancer

However, as it becomes abnormal, ovulation ceases to occur regularly. This results in exposure to higher levels of estrogen. And ultimately, the endometrium becomes thicker than usual.

These may lead to heart disease. And it also can influence your menstrual cycle, although you can help it and kick-start your period.

 

9 Effective Tips to Reduce PCOS Belly

Managing a PCOS belly can be very tricky. It needs some tweaks in your lifestyle. Health is a spectrum, and you can’t fix a PCOS belly with the snap of a finger.

But don’t worry because I’ll tell you precisely what you can do to help your PCOS belly. These are long-term solutions, so make sure you’re patient.

1. Limit Your Carbs

Even without PCOS, eating a carb-rich diet can be tricky. Reducing your carb intake might help curb the high insulin levels. Studies suggest that obese women on a low-carb diet had reduced insulin levels by the end.

The Glycemic index tells us how fast a specific food may raise blood sugar. So, having low glycemic foods may also help with PCOS belly.

In short, both the GI and low carb diets can impact insulin levels. These kinds of food may contribute to weight loss.

2. Consider Having a Protein-Rich Diet

Protein is a sugar-stabilizing agent. It also makes you feel full after having a meal. Once you feel fuller, you will not crave snacks. Besides, you’ll also burn more calories, and it’ll help with your weight loss. 

Women with PCOS on a high-protein diet can lose up to 10 pounds in six months. You can include foods like eggs, meat, dairy, and seafood. These are healthy protein items and may come in handy in such diets.

3. Include Fibrous Foods

Fibers, like proteins, help you stay full after meals. So, it’s always a good idea to include fiber-rich foods in your diet.

In the US, the average daily fiber intake is only 15 to 16 grams for women. However, the Reference Daily Intake of fiber should be around 25gms for women.

fibrous-foods

Studies link fiber intake with reducing insulin levels. It also significantly helped with belly fat in women with PCOS.

Other studies link high-fiber food with losing excess fat in the body. Either way, it’s a win-win situation for everybody.

4. Eat Plenty of Healthy Fats

Healthy fats help curb the symptoms of PCOS. They also leave you feeling more content after your meals.

One study compared the results of two groups of women. One group was on a low-fat diet, and the other was on a high-fat diet. The findings suggested that the women on a high-fat diet lost more fat. It was especially the case for belly fat.

Besides, the high-fat diet also helped lose lean body mass in those women. These fats may be high in calories. But they expand may your stomach’s volume and reduce the midnight cravings. 

So, considering all that, you may want to add avocado, nuts, olive, or coconut oil to your meals. These are all foods that are rich in healthy fats. 

Struggling with PCOS can be very difficult to deal with at times. Every woman’s body type is different. Some of these tips may be effective for some women but not for others.

5. Say Yes to Fermented Foods

Fermented foods are packed with flavors and culture. They’re a history that lives in through the years. Also, they’re super trendy and super yummy! 

Research findings suggest that women with PCOS lack some healthy gut bacteria. And fermented foods contain a lot of good gut bacteria. Besides, studies also link certain strains of probiotics with weight loss. 

fermented-foods

As such, consuming fermented foods containing these beneficial bacteria will most certainly help in reducing your PCOS belly.

You can include foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, and many more foods in your diet. Including fermented foods will also ensure that your meals never get boring. 

6. Be Mindful When You Eat

Seeking the comfort of food when you’re having a bad day is the most common thing in the world. But if you consistently keep at it, you might be inviting a few troubles.

For instance, being an emotional eater will soon form a pattern of its own. And one fine day, you may find yourself looking at the mirror pinching your belly bulges. It’s okay if that’s what you’re doing now, especially if you’re struggling with PCOS.

However, you can help your case and be mindful of what you eat. Mindful eating makes you more aware of your body cues such as hunger or thirst.

It also helps address concerning eating behavior like binge eating and emotional eating. So, it’s a practice that’s especially beneficial for women with PCOS or in eating disorder recovery.

7. Avoid Sugar and Processed Foods

If you’re already struggling with a PCOS belly, you might want to limit your sugar intake as much as possible. As you’re already becoming resistant to insulin, consuming sugar may not do you good. 

Even if you’re only trying to lose weight, most health experts warn you to avoid sugar. For women with PCOS, sugary or processed foods may spike blood sugar levels. It may also set you firmly on a path to obesity.

Studies show that women with and without PCOS process sugar differently. A woman with PCOS may take sugar the same amount of sugar as a woman without it. But they display higher levels of blood sugar when they have PCOS.

Women with PCOS on a diet with limited sugar and carb intake can maintain healthier body weight. Once in a while, it’s okay to have cake and cookies. But avoid making it a daily habit.

8. Lower Inflammation

The most natural response to any threat your body may detect is inflammation. But women with PCOS frequently look at chronic inflammation in the eye. 

Chronic inflammation also contributes to obesity, and consequently, PCOS belly. However, there’s an effective solution for that. You can include whole foods in your diet. 

Fruits and vegetables also help with chronic inflammation. Besides, foods rich in omega-3 are also great at keeping chronic inflammation at bay. 

9. Workout Regularly

Changing your diet is half the work. But you’ll also have to work out frequently to get rid of the PCOS belly.

There are several effective workout routines you can find online that can help you lose your belly fat within a week or even months.

If you don’t like working out, you can try walking every day for an hour or two. Slowly, you can try building more intensity.

Although the results may be slow, many women with PCOS post their success stories. Yours could be one of them too!

Struggling with PCOS can be very difficult to deal with at times. Every woman’s body type is different. Some of these tips may be effective for some women but not for others.

Try not to be disheartened if that happens to you. If none of these tips work for you, you can even try a keto diet for women with PCOS. Besides that, there are also drugs like metformin that may help with reducing your PCOS belly. But I strongly advise against taking drugs without a physician’s supervision.

Metformin for PCOS?

Patients with type 2 diabetes are the target population for metformin. It does improve insulin resistance and also lowers blood sugar levels. It may also reduce the harmful cholesterol, that is, LDL.

Though it isn’t a weight-loss drug, there is a link between metformin and losing weight. According to Mayo Clinic, you may also feel less hungry while on the drug.

metformin

However, metformin does have some side effects. And you should never take any drug without a prescription or consulting a doctor. It may help you shed some extra pounds, but the results may be moderate. Consider knowing all there’s to know before taking metformin for weight loss.

Final Words

So, what does a PCOS belly look like? Hopefully, you’ve got your answer from this article. PCOS belly can bring several health complications.

With the ways mentioned before the problem can be solved.

FAQs

How do people with PCOS belly look?

Women with PCOS may have excess facial hair for male hormone androgens. They may also have severe acne and a bulgy belly. 

Does PCOS cause stomach issues?

If you have PCOS, you may experience symptoms similar to IBS. These symptoms could include diarrhea, bloating, and stomach pain.

Can PCOS go away with weight loss?

PCOS doesn’t go away with weight loss, and it’s one of the most common myths. The treatment aims to manage the symptoms. There is no definite cure for it.

Munira Binte Hasan

Munira Binte Hasan

Munira is an aspiring psychologist from the University of Dhaka. She loves reviewing and writing content. In her free time, she loves to read or listen to music. She believes in advocating mental health issues and healthy expression of emotions.

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