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Is Wegovy Wonderful for Women with PCOS?

Women with PCOS frequently have trouble controlling their weight. Semaglutide (Wegovy or Ozempic) can help when diet and exercise don't.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a troublesome condition affecting some women. Although doctors do not know what causes PCOS, they hypothesize that an imbalance of hormones may be to blame. Women with PCOS may have irregular periods. Sometimes they also have symptoms of excess androgen production, such as facial hair or acne. Scientists named this syndrome after the multiple small cysts visible on enlarged ovaries. Whether these or the hormone imbalance are responsible, women with PCOS often have difficulties with fertility. They may also find it hard to maintain a healthy weight. That may be why one reader is so enthusiastic about semaglutide (Wegovy).

Wegovy for Women with PCOS:

Q. Those of us with PCOS have tried the “normal” way to lose weight: eat nothing, exercise and don’t lose a pound. Yes, it’s real!
That’s why drugs like Wegovy have been the only thing that helps us. Traditional advice does nothing and there have been no answers for people with PCOS.

The cost of these drugs is shameful. This “diabetes of the ovaries” finally has an answer and it’s out of reach for most people.

A. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal imbalance that interferes with regular menstrual periods and fertility. It is called “polycystic ovary syndrome” because the ovaries are enlarged and contain numerous small fluid-filled cysts.

Women with PCOS may also struggle with too much androgen and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance, often a feature of type 2 diabetes, can make it difficult to control weight.

You are not the first person with PCOS to report positive results with semaglutide.

One small study found:

“treatment with semaglutide, at low doses, significantly reduces body weight in almost 80% of obese PCOS patients who were unresponsive to a previous lifestyle plan” (Journal of Clinical Medicine, Sept. 12, 2023).

We hope that researchers will undertake more trials to see how best to use semaglutide for people like you. Once the condition is better understood, there may be additional ways to address the hormonal imbalances that might underly the challenges.

What Diet Works Better?

Previous research has focused on finding a diet that could help such women lose weight. One such study found that six months on a high-protein (40% of energy from protein) diet restored glucose levels better than a standard-protein (<15% of energy from protein) regimen (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Jan. 2012). Women also lost more weight, especially around the waist, on the higher-protein plan.

Nutritionists would classify this high-protein approach as a low-glycemic index diet. In a systematic review, such programs were helpful for women with PCOS (Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, April 2013). Medical treatment, for example, with semaglutide, in combination with that kind of eating plan might turn out to be most helpful.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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  • Carmina E & Longo RA, "Semaglutide treatment of excessive body weight in obese PCOS patients unresponsive to lifestyle programs." Journal of Clinical Medicine, Sept. 12, 2023. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12185921
  • Sørensen LB et al, "Effects of increased dietary protein-to-carbohydrate ratios in women with polycystic ovary syndrome." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Jan. 2012. DOI:https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.111.020693
  • Moran LJ et al, "Dietary composition in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review to inform evidence-based guidelines." Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, April 2013. DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2012.11.018
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