Gastric sleeve and pcos: regulating your hormones with a treatment

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) indirectly leads to weight gain and makes it really hard for you to lose excess fats. For this reason, it can be stated that there is a close relationship between obesity and PCOS. Gastric sleeve is a treatment for obesity, not for polycystic ovary syndrome. However, as the surgery helps lose weight, women who have PCOS may see additional benefits as their overall health and PCOS-related problems will improve.

If you wonder about gastric sleeve and PCOS, in the article you can find some useful information regarding the benefits of this sort of weight loss surgery for women with polycystic ovary syndrome. We’ll explain the correlation of gastric sleeve and PCOS with your metabolism, hormones, and more. You’ll also find out about pregnancy after the surgery and health insurance coverage for gastric sleeve patients with PCOS.

What is the relationship between obesity and PCOS?

Around half of the women suffering from PCOS experience obesity. Because of hormonal imbalance, both of them are affected by each other. Here is how one imbalance leads to other disorders.

Polycystic ovary syndrome is one of the endocrine disorders, and the endocrine system is responsible for creating and distributing hormones throughout the body. An endocrine disease starts when your body is making too much or not enough of a specific hormone, for example, estrogen.

Estrogen is a sex hormone, which can also change how your body responds to insulin. Changes in estrogen can be the reason for a rise or fall in your blood sugar. Obesity makes your cells resistant to insulin signals. As a result, your pancreas continues to overproduce insulin. In the end, excessive insulin causes weight gain through fat storage and it’s more difficult for you to lose weight.

With insulin resistance, the cells are insensitive to the action of insulin. Diet plays a very important role here. Abnormal bacteria inhabiting the intestine produce an ingredient, which penetrates through the intestines into the bloodstream, causing insulin resistance. The result is an increase in obesity, insulin resistance, and increased production of androgens.

Can I get gastric sleeve if I have PCOS?

Yes, you certainly can. There aren’t any restrictions against undergoing weight loss surgery if you suffer from PCOS. Just the opposite, this surgical procedure might in fact be a great help with not only obesity but also polycystic ovary syndrome. Your surgery may lead to significant improvement in both fertility and other symptoms of PCOS that you experience.

If you suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome and can’t lose weight despite trying everything, you might benefit from sleeve gastrectomy when you are morbidly obese (BMI over 40), or obese (BMI over 35) with some health conditions related to it. 

You must know that polycystic ovary syndrome can’t be cured entirely. Medicine is still not able to know its exact causes. What we understand so far is that this is a complex disorder and there are many factors that may influence it. Increased insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia are associated with increased production of androgens.

However, the results of weight loss surgeries like sleeve gastrectomy are highly positive in improving PCOS symptoms. Gastric sleeve surgery may significantly decrease the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome, which can be achieved through major weight loss. So remember that symptoms of PCOS can be improved with amazing effects, including solving the infertility problem by regulating your periods.

Benefits of gastric sleeve surgery for people with PCOS

Gastric sleeve benefits for PCOS are significant, and they are visible in many ways. Sleeve gastrectomy causes a major weight loss within more or less one year following the procedure. The surgery’s positive effects on women with PCOS include solving the following problems related to this syndrome:

  • insulin resistance
  • hyperandrogenism
  • menstrual irregularity
  • ovulatory dysfunction
  • infertility

Remember that polycystic ovary syndrome treatment should always be adapted to your individual needs.

Adjusting metabolism

Will gastric sleeve make a person with PCOS lose weight? Yes, it most probably will. Weight loss procedures are commonly known as metabolic surgeries. The long-term effects on metabolism and gastrointestinal hormones of gastric sleeve surgery are widely known. Sleeve gastrectomy leads to a significant decrease in BMI for women with PCOS-related symptoms to adjust their metabolism. After weight loss, there is a visible resolution of metabolic syndrome

You may think that the only reason for losing weight after gastric sleeve surgery is a smaller stomach: you eat less and therefore lose your excess kilograms. Well, you must know it’s not that simple. Remember, the success of a result of your sleeve gastrectomy is not only related to your decreased calorie intake. Sleeve gastrectomy makes eating less possible also by removing ghrelin, aka hunger hormone.

Gastric sleeve surgery changes fat storage metabolism, lowers blood sugar, and therefore increases the metabolic rate. Regulation of metabolic functions happens thanks to a system of hormones, and most of these hormones are produced in your stomach. Changing the tissues from which the hormones come creates a long-term positive metabolic change.

Insulin resistance

Let’s have a closer look at how weight loss helps PCOS. A study shows that patients with polycystic ovary syndrome and obesity can get beneficial effects from a body weight loss of even 5%. Weight loss improves insulin resistance, and therefore, sex hormone levels which in turn improves ovulatory function.

Gastric sleeve surgery can prevent or reverse metabolic syndrome in women with PCOS, which can help to reduce the risk of many illnesses like cardiovascular conditions, insulin resistance, glucose abnormalities, hypertension, and diabetes. For this reason, it is very helpful for women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Insulin resistance can improve rapidly after the surgery.

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome are often insulin resistant. It means that their bodies can make insulin but aren’t able to use it effectively. For this reason the risk of type 2 diabetes increases. However, after your weight loss through gastric surgery, normal hormonal balance will be achieved. This change is going to regulate your ability to process and produce insulin in the right amounts.

Menstrual cycles & hormonal balance

One of them is an imbalance of reproductive hormones and therefore an irregularity of your menstrual cycles too. Weight loss surgery will affect hormonal levels and this eventually improves your menstrual cycles too. While your body is rearranging these cycles, you may face irregular periods for some amount of time and changes in your menstrual cycle flow. Remember that after a few months, your body will adapt to more regular cycles.

Hormonal balance is very much influenced by obesity and fat distribution in your body. Gastric sleeve surgery highly affects the menstrual cycle by helping to regulate your hormones. Polycystic ovary syndrome is associated with menstrual cycle disorders and hormonal imbalance, therefore infrequent or absent ovulation. As a result, many women with PCOS have difficulty getting pregnant. It’s worth remembering, however, that a diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome is not equivalent to a diagnosis of infertility, and pregnancy can in fact be possible.


So, hormonal balance and more regular menstrual cycles after your sleeve gastrectomy, will of course affect your fertility. Getting pregnant after a gastric sleeve with PCOS is more likely to happen than before your weight loss surgery. Polycystic ovary syndrome might be the reason for irregular menstrual cycles, as well as infertility and cysts in the ovaries. Many studies show that gastric sleeve surgery can, in fact, have reproductive beneficial effects for PCOS and lead to a healthy pregnancy. 

The surgeon and your OB-GYN should weigh the risks of sleeve gastrectomy against the benefits such as long-term improvement in your health and a longer and better quality of life. Keep in mind that you can get pregnant no earlier than after a year and a half after the surgery. By that time your post-op diet will end, but you need to keep up the good work going. Your dietary choices play a huge part in this process when it comes to both losing weight and increasing your fertility.

Does insurance cover gastric sleeve surgery for PCOS patients?

Yes, it indeed can, but it depends on your insurance criteria. Most high-quality insurance companies cover weight loss surgeries that treat obesity-related diseases, which include gastric sleeve and PCOS. It’s crucial though that before deciding to undergo this kind of procedure you need to contact your insurance company and discuss the coverage of your insurance specifically. Keep in mind that most companies have a list of requirements that you will have to investigate in the case of your insurance.

Pay attention to whether your PCOS is accepted at a standard price when you apply for life insurance. It will probably require you not to have any other medical syndromes and your polycystic ovary syndrome to be under control. In the case of some health insurance companies, your PCOS might be considered a pre-existing problem. If so, it may affect the waiting period before you can claim your treatment. You should always check in detail if you meet all the insurance criteria before you decide to undergo your sleeve gastrectomy procedure for polycystic ovary syndrome.

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