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Women with PCOS and Weight Gain

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I have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), and as a result, I have to take birth control in order to regulate my menstrual cycle. The Pill (I was on Yasmine) was one of the reasons I gained weight over the year. This summer I went off the Pill, as recommended by my doctor. When I did I lost a majority of my weight gained over the year, and also just felt healthier and better.

Unfortunately, I might have to go back on the Pill, since it is one of the only treatments for PCOS. I don't want to gain the weight back. I was so unhappy over the year because of my weight change. I was working out all the time, eating right, and yet magically I seemed to gain weight/not lose weight.

Right now, after stopping the Pill and losing weight, I am happy with my weight and my size, even though I am not back to the original 115-117 I was before. 

I was extremely moody while on the Pill - either very happy or very sad. The smallest thing could make me cry. My new weight made everything worse. I just wasn't happy anymore. After I stopped the Pill, I went back to my regular, old, happy self, and I wasn't a crazy, over the top emotional girl.

What I am wondering, are there are any women who have experienced the same thing? How do you deal with PCOS? How do you prevent weight gain? Can you do it? Are there better treatments than the Pill (I have heard about just Progesterone Pills, but what are the side effects of those)?

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I myself gain weight, go crazy and uncontrollable person by eating those birth control pills and also my sister ans some of my friends. (I have not PCOS)

I think what happens is because of the change in hormones.

Last year, I heard that some new birth control pills has produced with new formula which wont make you crazy and gain weight. unfortunately, I can not remember the commercial name, but I think doctors or chemist might know.

I hope you find a way. I know that is a really bad feeling.

There's quite a lot of momentum behind recommending  Low GI diets that keep insulin levels stable to women with PCOS.  A feature of PCOS being that many of the symptoms are made worse by excess insulin levels in the body.... including the tendency to gain weight and the difficulty in reducing weight.  Obviously, any dietary changes have to be seen in conjunction with the other treatments prescribed by your GP.  There's a very good book by Jennie Brand-Miller 'The Low GI Guide to Managing PCOS' which I've seen recommended by many sufferers who have successfully controlled their weight.   Metformin appears to be a common presciption medication.

find a pill that's a single dose and not a cyclic one. For whatever reason, i don't know all the technically aspects, you don't gain with these.  I use levora and I'm really happy with it.

TMI ahead!

I also have PCOS.  I was on the progesterone ( I think) when my periods were irregular, as in lasing most of the month with "flooding".  I didn't have long term relief with the progesterone, but I also had fibroids and was severly obese (230).  In the end I had a hysterectomy so the period issue isn't anymore for me.  Have you been checked for fibroids?  They were the real problem behind my cycle being irregular.  (I was never regular from the start when I was a teen, perhaps because I was always overweight, but it was more an absent of periods up until I was in my mid 30's.) Heavy and/or break-thru bleeding happened after the fibroids "moved-in". 

Thanks for the book mention GIjane, I am going to look that up.

It sounds like you're just on the WRONG pill. Talk to your docotor about taking something else. When I was on Yasmine, I was fine. I didn't notice any change in myself at all. When I switched to Yaz, however, I got very moody, I cry even more than normal, and it's just difficult for me to stay motivated.

My sister, who also has PCOS, took Yaz and gained a bra size and spent the whole week in bed crying, it tore her up so bad. She promptly switched off of it and is fine now. (Emotionally and bra-size wise!) She's not noticed weight gain with the pill she's on now and she's actually probably the skinniest chick in our family! (5'8" about 135 lbs.) (I'm not sure what pill she's on now, though.)

Talk to your doctor about a different pill and you shouldn't have the same experience!


I have PCOS, and also took yasmine. It made me gain more weight and my blood pressure was raised. I have terrible periods that last forever so I went back on the Depo Provera injection (which I was on for 3 years previously). There is a lot of bad press about the depo, as it can cause weight gain- but no way near as much as yasmine did!

I have since managed to lose 86 pounds, its still that bit more of a struggle, but I'm getting there. It freaks some women out that the depo usually stops your periods altogether- but for me its a godsend!!!

I have PCOS, too, and used to be on Yasmine.  I was taking it because I was skipping periods and then once my periods started coming regularly, I stopped taking it.  Now I'm having the opposite problem.  I've been on my period since March 5th.  I'm going to have  D & C done in about 2 weeks.  I found this site looking for diets to help with PCOS.

I have similar issues.. I think you need to try a different pill, they're not all the same.. Maybe you can find one that works for you!

Personally I took Yaz for 3 months and hated it. My weight stayed about the same but I was so moody and emotional. It did help with PCOS symptoms but I was a wreck! I couldn't decide if it was really because of the pill or my situation in life, but looking back on it it was totally weird to be crying that much I think.

Thank you so much guys...I have another appointment with the good ole' doc in a week, so we will discuss...what are recommended one dose pills?


I just want to say my peace about Yasmine.  I LOVE yasmine!  It has been wonderful for me, and not caused me to gain any weight whatsoever!!!!  I was diagnosed with PCOS in 2004, though I'm asymptomatic at this point.  Back in high school, I tried Ortho Tricycline and it was very much like the horrible outcome you described above.  I gained weight, was depressed, etc etc etc.  My theory is that you'll need to try other pills to see which one jives with your body, and doesn't give you the horrific side effects.  Good luck!

i have some quite good news - it can be done.

i have PCOS and am hypothyroid, both are things that are supposed to add to the weight gain. (i get checked regularly, am on a thyroid medication, not currently on the pill, and the hypothyroid is only "subclinical" now.)

when i started CCing i have expected my progress to be slower because of that, but it actually was not - i lose as fast as anyone, or maybe even sometimes a bit faster (when i started, the first few pounds melted off... which sometimes happens to very overweight people).

i have lost over 60 lbs and the only times my progress stopped or was reversed were the moments when i went over maintenance. i have not even experienced a plateau yet (i have 60 more lbs to go). my bloodwork went excellent, cholesterol, sugar etc.were very low, blood pressure is OK...

my periods became lighter (funny thing, twice in a row they came sooner than expected. my gyn said it is nothing to worry about and is normal).

so, i am a living example that although it is easy to gain weight with PCOS, it is possible to lose it. of course your experience might be different, or your illness much more severe, or you may just have a different metabolism etc, BUT i think PCOS does necessarily make weight loss impossible or very slow, even when combined with hypothyroidism.

(edited to correct typos)

I, too, have PCOS.  Luckily, I had an amazing doctor who allowed me to try different pills.  It took a couple of years, but after half a dozen brands or so, I settled on Loestrin 1/20 Fe.  It is perfect for me.  I have lost 84 lbs since September 2007 and find that if I exercise even just moderately and keep my refined carb intake to a minimum, I feel pretty great.  I had been gaining steadily since I was about 6 years old and first started my period not long before my 9th b-day.  Sooo, in hindsight, with all my TTOM-related issues (no period for months, then TTOM for weeks on end) it was really no surprise that I had PCOS.  I finally came to a decision when I saw the scale peak at 305.  It was time to take control in every way that I could, and manage the issues that I don't control.  I do eat "naughty" foods sometimes, but really aim to stick to about 1800 calories per day, lots of fruits and veggies and lean meats and legumes for protein.  I really have become a believer in getting the most nutrition from the calories I ingest, and base my food choices on low-fat, high-volume and high-fiber foods.  Good luck to you!!!!   Cool

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Prior to finding out I had PCOS, I had gained 60 lbs. over the years for what seemed like no particular reason. I was placed on Loestrin first and switched to Yasmine due to back side effects. I had been on Yasmine for nearly 2 years without any weight gain and actually lost 30 lbs. while on it (I was eating right and exercising). Unfortunately, I returned to old habits and gained that 30 lbs. back; but, my point is that it is possible to lose the weight when you have PCOS.

I stopped taking Yasmine 2 1/2 months ago and gained 20 lbs. I do believe there is a direct connection between the weight gain and the hormone stoppage. On the upside, I feel better and am less moody and crampy during my period. At this point in time, I'm going to try to lose weight without being on the pill.

I am, however, quite happy that this topic was started, as it can be difficult to find information regarding PCOS and what methods of birth control are best for it. I hope more people will keep writing about their situations, as I can see this as a good source to return to if I should need to.

I just wanted to addend my original post to share my thoughts on the generic form of yasmin that I was given by my pharmacy this personal opinion: not as good as the original Yasmin, not by a long shot.  I've been on it for 2 weeks and my boobs are killing me & they've nearly doubled in size (I've been a happy 34 or 36 A before these past two weeks.)  No, in case it's crossing your mind right now, I'm not pregnant.  The only change has been the pill.  I had JUST dipped below 150 lbs for the first time since I was in high school, and now my scale's telling me 154.  This is a matter of TWO WEEKS we're talking about!  I'm very, very disappointed in the generic, and I'll be returning to my doctor this month to have her prescribe me the brand name only. 

Has anybody else experienced similar discrepancies in the way your body reacts to brand name vs. generic birth control pills?


I, too, have PCOS and I used to be on Yasmin until it no longer seemed to control the cysts and terrible periods and seemed to cause me the same mood problems. I was switched to Lo-Estrin 24FE, which has a 24-day cycle, a lower dosage of estrogen and iron pills during the period to help alleviate some of those problems.

As for the weight gain, as far as I understand, that's generally a side-effect of both PCOS AND the pill. Thanks to my formerly great insurance coverage, I had the opportunity to see an endocrinologist, which I would highly recommend if you have the opportunity because they are specialists who know a lot about hormonal problems, which is what PCOS is.

From what I understand (and I'm no doctor), PCOS's hormonal imbalances also affect insulin production and distribution around the body, which makes it easy to gain weight and hard to lose it. My wonderful doctor put me on a low-carbohydrate diet and Metformin, a pill that is used for those with diabetes and the risk of diabetes. Although early side effects of the Metformin included diarrhea and nausea for me, by following the diet I eventually got used to the pill and it helped keep me curb my voracious appetite. I lost 50 pounds within a year of the diet/medication changes.

Unfortunately, I lost that insurance plan and, without the endocrinologist, I lost the motivation to continue on the diet and I gained the weight back. That's part of why I'm back on CC -- I'm hoping to find my motivation and use what I already learned from my doctor to get back with the program!

Best of luck to you.

 I  have pcos and i recently gained 20 lbs in one month. Ive tried multiple bc pills and sometimes that wont even work with helping me get my period and my doc has to put me on provera, ive tred that yasmine pill and hated it, same things you desribed I felt and went through,i tried junel fe, disliked it too, my doc has me on ortho tryclen lo and its pretty good the best one that works with me so far. Just tell your doc everything your feeling and he/she should recommend one that woyuld be good for you.

Theswissmiss, have you tried Metformin? That is the first line of drug therapy used for PCOS, especially in overweight women who can not afford to put on more weight.

Metformin also helps to burn more glucose, and helps you to lose weight. I have started it for my own PCOS problems, and my cycles are regulating themselves
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