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New weight loss research focuses on women with polycystic ovary syndrome

Experts at the Hull York Medical School have launched a major new research project focusing on weight management in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Polycystic ovary syndrome is the most common hormone condition in women of reproductive age, affecting up to 20% women in this age group both globally and in the UK.

Obesity is one of the traits associated with the condition along with hirsutism (unwanted hair), oligmenorrhoea (infrequent periods), reduced fertility and increased incidence of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in women with PCOS.

The study will explore the effects of two different diets: a very low-calorie diet (800 calories per day for the first eight weeks) and what is described as an energy deficit diet (current daily energy requirements, minus 600kcal/d to induce weight loss) for 16 weeks.

Thozhukat Sathyapalan, Professor of Endocrinology at Hull York Medical School, said up to 80% of women with PCOS were overweight or obese.

He said: “Diet and lifestyle changes to promote weight loss among obese women with PCOS can improve many aspects of the condition including fertility and the development of type 2 diabetes, although the effect of one particular weight loss diet remains largely unexplored.”

We are committed to driving improvements in healthcare – and we anticipate that this study will offer important insights into our understanding of the effects of weight loss for those with polycystic ovary syndrome. Professor Una Macleod,
Dean of Hull York Medical School

Maria Papageorgiou, advanced research dietitian at Hull York Medical School and the investigator for the study, said: “It is highly likely that participants will lose a significant amount of weight during the trial, possibly up to 20kg. Losing even 5-10% of body weight can result in great improvements in a participant’s condition.

“We hope that those women who have been diagnosed with the condition will consider taking part in order to help us advance the treatment and care of those with PCOS.”

Professor Una Macleod, Dean of Hull York Medical School, said: “We are committed to driving improvements in healthcare – and we anticipate that this study will offer important insights into our understanding of the effects of weight loss for those with polycystic ovary syndrome.

“It will build on the high-calibre research into a diverse range of health issues such as cancer and palliative care, diabetes, dementia and maternal health which is in already in progress at the University of Hull and Hull York Medical School.”

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