Reproductive health can be a concern for women struggling with morbid obesity. Issues such as infertility and menstrual irregularities may occur due to morbid obesity. Menstruation problems include cycle interruption, abnormal flow, and added pain during your menstrual cycle. Fertility problems include possible miscarriage, reduced success with fertility treatments, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
PCOS is an endocrine disorder in women of childbearing age that can cause infertility and other reproductive health conditions. Classic symptoms include obesity, an increase of facial and body hair, acne, irregular menstrual cycles, and infertility.
Weight loss surgery has been found to improve or resolve conditions that may interfere with pregnancy, such as PCOS and hypertension. This procedure also reduces weight on reproductive organs and influences other physiological changes affecting fertility.
Surgeons commonly will request that female bariatric patients take steps to prevent pregnancy during the first year after surgery. Therefore, it’s important to know about any changes in fertility after surgery so that you don’t become pregnant too soon.
A recent study of women following weight loss surgery showed improvement of multiple clinical problems related to infertility and PCOS. All women continued to have normal menstrual cycles within three months following surgery. Of the women who experienced increased facial and body hair, 52% had complete resolution. In overweight women, as little as 5% weight loss may restore ovulation and fertility.