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W E I GH T M A N A G E MEN T Obesity Can Have Implications Specific to Women While the health risks have been well-documented for the more than one-third of U.S. adults who are obese, less attention has been paid to obesity-related concerns specific to women’s health. Yijun Chen, MD, bariatric surgeon with the UCLA Center for Obesity and METabolic Health (COMET), notes that obese women are more susceptible to sexual dysfunction, irregular menstrual cycles and polycystic ovarian syndrome, an endocrine system disorder that can affect women’s hormone levels, menstrual cycle and ovulation. For obese women who become pregnant, there is a greater likelihood of gestational diabetes and other complications, as well as giving birth to overweight or obese babies, Dr. Chen says. Obesity is also a significant contributor to infertility. The good news, he says, is that studies show that obese women experiencing fertility problems who undergo weight-loss surgery are 50 percent more UCLAHEALTH.ORG 1-800-UCLA-MD1 (1-800-825-2631) likely to become fertile, and significantly more likely to experience a complication-free pregnancy and deliver a normal-weight baby. “If a young, obese woman is experiencing infertility, she is better off getting weight-loss surgery rather than going through in vitro fertilization treatment,” Dr. Chen says. “Not only is it healthier for the woman and the child for the pregnancy to occur after the weight has been lost, but we also know that about half of the patients who fail to become pregnant before weight-loss surgery are able to become pregnant after the surgery.” Weight-loss surgery is generally recommended for patients who either have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more; or a BMI greater than 35 along with an obesity-