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So how do you know if you have the infamous PCOS belly? It's usually identified by the shape of your belly. When you take a look at your overall body shape it can become even more obvious that it's "PCOS Belly".
If you already know what PCOS is you can skip the next paragraph. I just have to include an intro for those who aren't familiar.
What Exactly Is PCOS Anyways?
Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, commonly affects women of reproductive age. According to estimates, it is one of the most prevailing endocrine disorders, which affects up to 10% of women of reproductive age.
The main symptoms of PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome include ovarian cysts, increased levels of male hormones, and insulin resistance. However, one more symptom is common among women with PCOS. Yes, that's right—a PCOS belly.
PCOS creates hormonal havoc that promotes weight gain, especially around the belly area.
Belly or abdominal fat is the most common problem that worries PCOS women. In PCOS, fat builds up in the lower abdomen, making your belly look like
Factors that contribute to belly fat include:
- Changes in hormone levels
- Insulin sensitivity
- Lower muscle mass
Luckily, improving your food and changing your lifestyle can balance hormones and reverse belly fat.
Why Do Women with PCOS Accumulate Weight in the Abdominal Area?
Many medical professionals feel that PCOS can cause an increase in body weight, typically in the form of visceral fat. However, there is no conclusive evidence to support this notion. This kind of fat gathers around the internal organs of the abdomen.
What PCOS does do though is mess up your hormones. When this happens it makes it so much easier to store fat.
PCOS causes an increase in androgen production. As testosterone levels rise, there is an increase in abdominal fat storage. Health issues like uterine cancer, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and heart disease may result from this.
Some women with PCOS can maintain a healthy weight while others may gain and struggle with weight loss.
What Does A PCOS Belly Look Like?
Well, PCOS Belly can look different for everyone actually. There's a lot of preconceptions about what it looks like but it's not exactly true.
Higher male hormones in women promote fat storage in the abdominal area. This belly fat may lead to heart disease, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.
Before we discuss what a PCOS belly looks like and what we can do to reduce belly fat, we must understand the two types of fats in our bodies.
This type of fat is present underneath the skin. If your belly fat is soft, you have subcutaneous fat because it is soft to the touch. You can pinch it below your skin. The good news is that it is less harmful than visceral fat, but the bad news is that it is hard to shed.
The layer of fat around the body's organs is called visceral fat. It is stored deep inside the belly and is also considered dangerous for health.
Excess visceral fat can be risky for people with diabetes, PCOS, and other metabolic disorders. However, losing visceral fat is easy through diet and exercise.
What Should Women with PCOS Know About Belly Fat?
Now you know about the two types of fat. PCOS involves the accumulation of visceral fat. That means your belly fat is hard to the touch. A PCOS belly makes your body more apple-shaped than pear-shaped. It is more common among women with PCOS who have a high waist-to-hip ratio. But genetics and other factors may contribute to it. Women with average weight can also develop a PCOS belly. Some even have little or excessive hair on their bellies.
PCOS women may occasionally feel bloated. However, if you think about it more often and experience some pain, you may want to check for other symptoms.
What are the Factors that Contribute to a PCOS Belly?
Insulin resistance and a greater risk of cardiovascular disease are some of the risks associated with abdominal fat. Additionally, abdominal obesity can be a polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) symptom. This may result in insulin resistance and impact the body's insulin utilization and storage system. The best ways to get rid of a PCOS belly are to speed up your metabolism and reduce low-grade body inflammation. But remember, these only make up a small part of the puzzle and won't help you eliminate your PCOS belly.
Let's briefly discuss these factors individually.
Patients with PCOS may have a slower metabolism which means an increase in weight. It is common for women with PCOS to undergo hormonal imbalances and experience cravings. Sufficient sleep, exercise, a proper diet, and adding more protein to your diet can speed up your metabolism. High protein intake boosts metabolism and speeds up the calorie burn.
When the body's cells (liver, fat, muscle) do not react to insulin as they should, it leads to insulin resistance. Our pancreas produces the hormone insulin, vital for controlling blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance is a common consequence of PCOS, which increases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes even though the body can produce insulin. Additionally, excess insulin may increase hunger, speed up fat storage, and result in high insulin levels.
Constant Low-Grade Inflammation
Our white blood cells release substances that reduce inflammation when there is continual low-grade inflammation in the body. Unfortunately, recent studies reveal that women with PCOS experience low-grade inflammation, which can elevate androgen levels in the body. You can lower your overall levels of low-grade inflammation by eating a PCOS diet rich in omega-3 and anti-inflammatory foods.
If you suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome, you may experience hormonal imbalances in progesterone, estrogen, and androgens.
To lose belly fat, these hormones must be in balance. Fortunately, diet and exercise can help you battle PCOS belly obesity.
Let's learn a bit more about these essential hormones.
Androgen hormones have an impact on women with PCOS. Men typically have levels that are greater than women, but PCOS women have levels that are higher than the majority of women. These include testosterone or the stronger DHT hormone (dihydrotestosterone). While women usually have these hormones as well, their levels of androgens are lower. High testosterone is a significant cause of hirsutism.
Estrogen and Progesterone
Low progesterone levels are typical in PCOS women. Your estrogen levels may increase, resulting in poor libido, breast pain, hot flashes, and weight gain.
Weight Loss for Women with PCOS
Not only does losing weight lower your risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other illnesses, but it can also elevate your mood and maintain hormonal balance. In addition, shedding just 5% of your body weight can improve your menstrual cycle and lessen some symptoms of PCOS. It's really important to lose belly fat when you have PCOS.
If you have PCOS, working closely with your healthcare professional can guarantee effective management of this condition. Consult a professional dietician and a fitness trainer to get your food and exercise regimen. A good diet and exercise will help you control your insulin levels to prevent blood glucose levels from rising.
Women with PCOS should perform exercises that help to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce body fat. Swimming, cycling, jogging, strength training, and walking can be excellent options. However, remember to consult your doctor before starting any new exercise.
No set diet works for all women with PCOS. However, an excellent place to start is by including food sources strong in fiber, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and lean protein. All such food groups can trigger weight loss and regulate blood sugar levels.
Cut back on sugary beverages, refined carbohydrates, and processed foods. That's because they bring on sugar surges, making it challenging to lose weight.
In addition, there are drugs like metformin, birth control pills, and anti-androgen drugs that can help control PCOS symptoms. Speak to your doctor if this is something you'd like to investigate.
Best Ways to Lose PCOS Belly Fat
Below are some tips to help you get rid of your PCOS belly naturally. You generally want to always do this the natural way. Once you know how to lose weight you'll want to make sure to keep it off. These are different skills altogether. There are a lot of resources on this website like the 7-day diet plan or the article about how to lose weight with PCOS.
Keep your Gut Healthy
Did you know that 80% of the immune system depends on the gut? Absorbing nutrients from food and producing happy hormones becomes easier for your body when your gut health is strong. The easiest way to take care of your gut is to avoid processed food and consume a healthier diet.
Eat food that is raw and rich in probiotics. For example, add more kefir, yogurt, pickets, and kimchi to your diet. Some types of cheese are also suitable for gut health.
Avoid anti-inflammatory foods such as dairy, gluten, and sugar. Another food to avoid when trying to lose PCOS belly fat is wheat. That's because wheat is highly addictive and has the same effect on our brain as cocaine. In addition, since it stimulates the appetite, losing weight becomes challenging when you consume wheat.
Limit your alcohol consumption. You will have a significant blood sugar rise whether you pick wine, beer, or any other beverage. This is because insulin secretion will increase in response to increased blood sugar since PCOS and insulin resistance are strongly related.
Eat a Handful of Vegetables Every Day
Make sure your diet has a mix of colorful vegetables. That's because they provide all essential nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, to boost your body's energy levels. For example, leafy greens are particularly beneficial for women with PCOS. In addition, they are good sources of B vitamins, especially folate.
Eat Foods to Speed up Metabolism
These foods can speed up your metabolism, curb your appetite, and aid in weight loss because they make you feel full.
Excellent PCOS-friendly foods include:
- Foods high in protein, including eggs, seafood, beans, and soy
- Fruits, veggies, eggs, and beans are examples of whole foods.
- Healthy fats from foods like nuts, avocados, and fatty seafood
- Some more healthy options include:
The capsaicin in chili peppers can help you increase your metabolism and reduce the PCOS belly. Capsaicin raises the body's temperature and oxygen levels, which allows you to burn more calories.
Bone broth can aid with appetite suppression. Before meals, drinking a cup of bone broth will help you feel satiated for longer. That's why it lets you lose your PCOS belly and consume fewer calories.
Green tea extract may increase metabolism and burn fat. Make it a regular addition to your morning routine for losing belly fat.
Coffee may affect how quickly the stomach empties. It also lowers appetite hormones and reduces hunger pangs, making you lose weight fast.
Cinnamon is a common spice used in baking. However, regular use can lower blood sugar levels and allow the body to use insulin more effectively.
Stay away from packaged food and dairy products.
Get Enough Sleep
Go to bed early to acquire eight hours of sleep. One of the hardest things to do is return to your usual sleeping schedule. Avoid using mobile devices in the evening and start preparing for bedtime a couple of hours before sleep. You can begin by taking a hot bath or practicing meditation.
Take Care of your Liver
Your liver purifies the blood by removing toxic compounds that your body produces. Make sure you take care of your liver every day. Start by drinking warm lemon water and apple cider vinegar every morning to help the liver detoxify. Finish off this routine with a probiotic. Drink lots of water throughout the day.
Exercise for at least an hour or thirty minutes a day. Focus on moderate exercise which does not worsen your PCOS symptoms. Strenuous exercise may further impair your menstrual cycle. Yoga, Pilates, and flexibility training are all excellent for women with PCOS.
All these tips relate to nutrition. Serotonin is the happy hormone, and when you eat well and exercise, you will start to produce more of the ‘feel-good’ hormones. The more comfortable you are, the better you can fight common symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome, including belly fat.
You'll start to feel better when you alter your lifestyle and eat healthily. While it can be challenging, it’s not impossible to transform your life to live a happier and healthier life.
Now you know what does a PCOS belly look like. Consuming a PCOS diet and performing regular exercises such as strength training and cardio can reduce belly fat. Furthermore, it is crucial to balance your hormones, regulate blood sugar nails, and boost metabolism to beat the battle against belly fat.
Follow our guide to manage your polycystic ovary syndrome symptoms and reduce PCOS belly fat. Consistency and perseverance can help you attain a beach body and battle most of the PCOS symptoms you are experiencing.