Get Skinny To Get Pregnant

Bariatric surgery in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome increases fertility

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Weight loss has been shown to improve various medical conditions. Infertility can now join the growing number of conditions that can be treated by weight loss.

New research presented at the 28th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) shows that after bariatric surgery, women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), saw their weight drop, and fertility rise.

"Weight loss increases fertility for obese women."

Mohammad Jamal, MD, FACS, study co-author and Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City notes that patients don't often visit a bariatric surgeon to treat infertility problems. This study suggests that women with morbid obesity, who are infertile due to PCOS, may solve their obesity problems and fertility problems with the same surgery.

Multiple studies have shown bariatric surgery improves or greatly minimizes many diseases and conditions. Additionally, the weight loss also reduces the risk of pregnancy related complications. While these findings are preliminary and the study is quite small, they are indeed compelling.

From the files of 566 morbidly obese women who had gastric bypass surgery over a period of nine years, the researchers found  31 patients between the ages of 22 and 42 who had PCOS before surgery. Six post-menopausal patients, and five patients who received no follow-up care were dropped from consideration. The remaining 20 patients (average age 32) were contacted for pregnancy information. Fourteen of the 20 were either able to achieve pregnancy prior to the bariatric surgery or did not desire to have a baby.

All of the remaining six women, who had been diagnosed with infertility before bariatric surgery, but still desired to become pregnant, were able to achieve pregnancy within three years of their surgery. Doctors advise women not to try to conceive until at least 18 months after bariatric surgery because of surgery-related changes that could adversely affect fetal development.

Before their surgery these 20 women had an average body mass index (BMI) of 52. After surgery, they had an average weight loss of nearly 60 percent. Menstruation also normalized in 82 percent of the women and almost 80 percent had their Type 2 diabetes lift.

Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 15, 2011
Last Updated:
June 17, 2011