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Body weight linked to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome risk

Researchers have shown through a study that there is a clear relationship between obesity and the chance of developing polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Researchers report that obesity during childhood and teenage years are particularly vital to the disease’s development. This ground-breaking public health research will be presented during the 24th European Congress of Endocrinology on 23 May 2022 in Milan, Italy.

PCOS is a common condition. Many cases go undiagnosed, but according to a 2016 study1 this condition affects up to 10% of women. PCOS affects how women’s ovaries work and can manifest itself as irregular periods, high levels of “male” hormones and enlarged ovaries with fluid-filled sacs surrounding the eggs. PCOS can lead to diabetes, infertility, poorer quality of life, and pregnancy complications. The goal of the study was to see if obesity had an impact on the development of PCOS.

The study included a genetic analysis, termed mendelian randomisation, of over 110,000 people. The team also pooled data from 63 other studies, via meta-analysis, to assess how overweight and obesity affect the chance of developing PCOS. The study highlighted that BMI, body fat levels and markers indicative of diabetes are vital in PCOS development. They also showed that girls with overweight who go on to have a normal adult body weight are still more likely to develop PCOS. The team also reported that obesity and overweight during adolescence are particularly important in the development of the condition.

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