Obesity, which is often linked to PCOS, has now overtaken alcohol as the number one cause of liver disease. In some cases, the damage is so severe that it means patients require a liver transplant.
The continuing big rise in obesity worldwide means the problem will get even worse in years to come. Fat-induced liver disease has overtaken alcohol and viral infections as the most common cause of liver disease in North America and Europe.
One of the problems with liver disease is that, by the time symptoms emerge, the damage can be irreversible.
The liver is the body’s largest internal organ and has hundreds of functions, from breaking down food to convert it to energy to ridding the body of excess fluids and fighting infection. When someone becomes overweight, the liver often can’t cope with the fat levels and it starts to store fat.
This can lead to the liver becoming enlarged. In serious cases, the organ can be permanently scarred – a condition called cirrhosis, which has hitherto been mainly associated with alcoholism.
If fatty liver disease is caught early enough, switching to a balanced, nutritious diet and taking regular exercise to lose weight can pay health dividends. So both PCOS and fatty liver disease can be improved with the same approach.