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Obesity and PCOS

Adolescents with obesity and PCOS have more 'unhealthy' bacteria

The gut microbiome may play a role in PCOS and its related metabolic complications, and these changes can be found in teenagers who are early in the course of the condition

Teens with obesity and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have more ‘unhealthy’ gut bacteria suggesting the microbiome may play a role in the disorder, according to researchers from Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora, CO.

PCOS is complicated endocrine disorder affecting 6 percent to 18 percent of women of reproductive age and work in adult women indicates that changes in bacteria be involved. The. The hormone disorder is characterised by elevated testosterone levels in the blood that cause acne, excess hair growth and irregular periods. Teens with PCOS often also struggle with obesity and have a higher risk for type 2 diabetes, infertility, and depression.

"We found that in adolescents with PCOS and obesity, the bacterial profile (microbiome) from stool has more ‘unhealthy’ bacteria compared to teens without PCOS," said the study's corresponding author, Dr Melanie Cree Green of Children's Hospital Colorado. "The unhealthy bacteria related to higher testosterone concentrations and markers of metabolic complications."

In the paper, ‘Poor Sleep is Related to Metabolic Syndrome Severity in Adolescents with PCOS and Obesity’, published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, the researcher sought to investigate differences in objective markers of sleep in adolescents with obesity and PCOS with and without metabolic syndrome. They also aimed to examine the relationships between markers of sleep with metabolic syndrome markers (hormone and metabolic measurements, abdominal MRI for hepatic fat fraction, actigraphy to estimate sleep and overnight polysomnography (PSG).

The researchers studied 58 teens with obesity and found that girls with PCOS who also had metabolic syndrome had significantly worse sleep disordered breathing including higher apnoea–hypopnea index (AHI, p=0.02) and arousal index (p=0.01) compared to those without MS. Actigraphy showed no differences in habitual patterns of sleep behaviours including duration, timing, or efficiency between groups. However, a greater number of poor sleep health behaviours was associated with greater number of metabolic syndrome components (p=0.04). Higher AHI correlated with higher triglycerides (p=0.02) and poorer sleep efficiency correlated with higher % liver fat (p=0.01), waist circumference (p<0.01) and higher triglycerides (p=0.04) in their stools.

"The gut microbiome may play a role in PCOS and its related metabolic complications, and these changes can be found in teenagers who are early in the course of the condition," added Green.

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