Weight loss and exercise improves fertility in women with PCOS
Lifestyle interventions, including calorie restriction and exercising, have been confirmed to improve ovulation in women who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. PCOS is a major cause of female infertility and occurs when a woman’s body produces more testosterone than normal. This can result in chronic anovulation, weight gain, acne, and body hair (hirsutism).
The randomised open-label study aimed to determine the efficacy of pre-conception interventions on reproductive and metabolic abnormalities in overweight/obese women with PCOS prior to standard ovulation induction. It examined the differences in pregnancy outcome amongst 149 women, either taking birth control pills, changes in lifestyle, or both. Women who participated in lifestyle interventions and took birth control pills were more likely to ovulate, than those just taking the pills. Furthermore women in the lifestyle and combinations parts of the study had lower levels of triglycerides and better insulin sensitivity but these were exacerbated in those taking the pills only. The research shows that lifestyle modifications play a very important role in improving fertility in those with PCOS and the researchers recommend obese women with PCOS be encouraged to engage in lifestyle modification prior to infertility treatment.