The Impact of Weight on Gynecological Health

Women’s bodies undergo a remarkable journey of change and resilience, yet the importance of gynecological health is often undervalued. We are concerned with rising obesity rates.  Studies have found that excess weight has a negative effect on female health. The experts at Covington Women’s Health Specialists are breaking down how obesity affects the well-being of a woman and offer support to meet healthy weight goals.

What is Obesity?

Obesity is a medical condition characterized by excessive accumulation of body fat, leading to an increased risk of various health problems. It is typically defined by a high body mass index (BMI), a screening tool that accesses if an individual’s weight is significantly higher than what is considered healthy for their height. There are many tools online to help you determine your Body Mass Index (BMI).

Causes of Obesity

Women’s bodies go through many changes during their lives. Excessive body fat is associated with a higher risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and gynecological issues such as infertility and uterine cancer. We will discuss this more below.

Obesity can stem from various reasons, some of which are within our control, and others that are not. There may be several reasons that contribute to this, such as:

  • Diet choices
  • Lifestyle habits
  • Genetic factors
  • Underlying diseases or conditions
  • Medication use
  • Age-related changes
  • Lack of adequate sleep
  • Smoking cessation
  • Pregnancy
  • Socioeconomic factors

How Does Obesity Cause Gynecological Problems?

Being obese can cause various gynecological health problems. Some of these issues include abnormal uterine bleeding, infertility, spontaneous abortion, fibroids, urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, gestational diabetes, and pre-eclampsia. Obesity is also a known risk factor for certain cancers, specifically endometrial cancers. The excess fat on our bodies produces estrogen. Too much estrogen can cause disruptions in women’s menstrual cycles and later in life this can cause uterine cancer.

Obesity contributes to the following gynecological issues:

  • Early Puberty: Childhood obesity has been connected to early onset puberty. Studies found a link between this and ovarian hyper-androgynism, PCOS, and cardiovascular issues later in life.
  • Infertility: Obese women may take longer to conceive and have an increased risk of ovulatory disorders. PCOS symptoms can worsen because of obesity-induced insulin resistance.
  • Issues with Fertility Treatment & Assisted Reproduction Technology: Obese women with ovulatory problems may respond poorly to ovulation induction treatments.
  • Early Pregnancy Loss: Overweight and obese women have a higher risk of miscarriage in both natural and fertility treatment-induced pregnancies.
  • Contraception: Obese women face increased pregnancy risks, such as pre-eclampsia, gestational hypertension, macrosomia, induction of labor, and Cesarean section. Additionally, overweight or obese women are more likely to experience maternal deaths.
  • Benign Gynecological Problems: Obesity, which is often connected to PCOS, can lead to irregular menstrual cycles. Even without PCOS, it is associated with long and irregular cycles, as well as benign problems like endometrial polyps and fibroids.
  • Gynecological Cancers: Being obese increases the chances of endometrial cancer in women after menopause.

By making lifestyle changes and discussing a personalized health plan with your gynecologist, you can avoid or reduce the impact of these conditions.

Making long-term lifestyle changes and adopting healthy habits for your overall gynecological health can be challenging. Our team at Covington Women’s Health Specialists is passionate about helping you achieve your health goals. Our medical staff is dedicated to providing compassionate care that is tailored to your specific needs. Request an appointment online or by calling 770-385-8590.