Why is PCOS Weight Gain Around Stomach Area So Common? – Heal Me Right

Why is PCOS Weight Gain Around Stomach Area So Common?

Depending on the type of fat, you may either have a soft or a hard PCOS belly – these yoga poses will help you get rid of both!

Why is PCOS weight gain around stomach area so common? (10+ Yoga Poses)

Obesity is a classic characteristic of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Although the prevalence of being overweight is varied across different countries and cultures, it has been observed that about 70% of women with PCOS have increased body weight [body mass index (BMI) > 25 kg/m²]. This leads to PCOS weight gain around stomach area.

This excess weight can accumulate in different parts of your body. More visibly, it takes shelter in your abdominal region which increases your waist size.

Besides the costs of some new pairs of pants, in the worst-case scenario, it can exacerbate your risks of developing cardiovascular and metabolic disorders. This can heighten your insulin resistance, and hyperandrogenism and can set hurdles in your PCOS recovery.

PCOS complications due to obesity

There are a number of potentially serious complications caused by the coexistence of PCOS and excess body weight. They include the following:

  • Fertility issues/ irregular periods
  • Prediabetes
  • Severe acne
  • Hyperandrogenism (that leads to hirsutism)
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Miscarriage
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Endometrial or Uterine Cancer

What does a PCOS belly look like

If you have PCOS, you may have the following in your appearance:

1. Soft belly bulge

If you are an obese PCOS woman, you may have a belly bulge even when you are on an empty stomach. You will have a soft jiggly belly that is visibly protruding when viewed from a side angle in the mirror. This may also give you flabs of fat on your sides a.k.a. love handles.

This type of PCOS stomach fat is called subcutaneous fat. It is located between under your skin and the abdominal wall. This type of belly fat is visible, difficult to lose,+ and is less dangerous than visceral fat

2. Invisible visceral fat

You may have visceral fat even if you are not obese or have a healthy BMI. It is stored between the gaps of the abdominal organs like the stomach, liver, and intestines. You may not be able to notice visceral fat building as it is not visible to the eyes too early.

You may have a normal belly shape but deep inside the disposition of visceral fat can lead to heart disease, type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol, certain cancers, and stroke.

When you have excessive visceral fat due to PCOS weight gain around the stomach, you will have a belly that feels hard to touch different from the soft subcutaneous fat.

3. Apple-shaped middle body

PCOS weight gain around stomach region can increase your waist-to-hip ratio. This may cause your PCOS belly shape may resemble that of an apple i.e. waist circumference bigger than the hip circumference.

It is calculated by dividing the waist circumference by the hip circumference in centimeters. Ideally, women should have a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.86 or less, as per standards provided by WHO.

You may have an ideal BMI but could be overweight in the belly area in PCOS.

Why is hard to lose weight with PCOS

Various factors in PCOS make it difficult to lose overall body fat:

1. Insulin resistance 

When you have high amounts of unused glucose (sugar) in your blood, it gets stored in your body in the form of weight. This makes insulin resistant which pedals this vicious cycle if you do not do physical activity or control your sugar intake.

2. Hormonal disturbances

Dysfunctional levels of these hormones in PCOS, including the stress hormone cortisol, lead to increased body weight. These hormonal fluctuations can cause PCOS weight gain around stomach and other internal organs as visceral fat.

3. Hypothyroidism

Having an underactive thyroid gland can lower your metabolism which causes your body to burn fewer calories than you store as fat. This may lead to the deposition of fat in the lower belly.

4. Insatiable appetite

Insulin resistance and an underactive thyroid in PCOS can give you munchies surprisingly soon after a meal. If you do not control your calorie intake this overeating can add a few more inches to your waist size.

It is very important to calculate carbs, choose good carbs over bad ones and practice mindful eating habits.

Exercises for PCOS belly

PCOS weight gain around the stomach area is not limited to overweight persons and has been identified as a critical risk factor for cardiovascular and metabolic disorders. 

In addition to healthy foods to promote weight loss, regular physical activity is recommended as the most important therapeutic option to control obesity by reducing PCOS weight gain around stomach.

In a study, overweight women were put on regular exercise (at least 2 x 30 minutes per week) and regular yoga practice for weight loss (at least 60 minutes per week). The results showed yoga practice leads to a significant reduction in abdominal fat.

The best news is that these yoga poses will help you in burning overall body fat and not just fat from the belly area.

Here are 10 yoga poses that you can try to manage your waist-to-hip ratio at home:

1. Suryanamaskar

2. The Forward Fold

3. The Staff Pose

4. The Chair Pose

5. The Tree

6. Legs Up The Wall

7. The Warrior Pose

8. The Bridge Pose

9. The Sphinx Pose

10. Butterfly pose

11. The Cat

You can find all these poses with detailed steps, contraindications, and ayurvedic weight loss tips, here.

Key takeaways

PCOS weight gain around stomach is common. Getting rid of it is even harder due to a number of metabolic and hormonal disorders. But with the right combination of diet and exercises, you can efficiently lose belly fat which will also help in reversing PCOS.

It is advised to seek medical attention as obesity is related to major risks and always seek the guidance of a trained yoga instructor to avoid any injuries.


These tips will help you reduce PCOS weight gain around stomach.

When you have PCOS you will generally gain weight in the belly area. It is due to insulin resistance, metabolic disorders, and thyroid dysfunctions. Stress and fluctuations in hormones can also lead to a bulging belly. You may also gain weight in other body parts like thighs, arms, ankles, and face.

PCOS weight gain around stomach can also be bloating which is due to these reasons:

  • Irregular periods
  • Digestive problems
  • Gut inflammation

Ir affects your PCOS belly shape and you may mistake bloating for abdominal weight gain.

During PCOS when you gain belly fat due to a number of hormonal fluctuations, it is called POCS belly. Depending on the type of fat, your PCOS belly can be soft or hard to touch. These hormonal dysfunctions that lead to PCOS weight gain around stomach are:

  • Excess of insulin
  • Too much of male hormones
  • Lack of thyroid hormones

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