Gynecologic and Obstetric Consequences of Obesity in Adolescent Girls
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© 2016 North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent GynecologyIn the past few decades, there has been an overwhelming increase in childhood and adolescent obesity worldwide. Besides the well recognized cardiometabolic complications and other physical conditions associated with obesity, during adolescence, it causes psychological and social distress in a period of life that is already sensitive for a girl. This in turn increases their risk of low self-esteem and depression. Furthermore, obesity diminishes health-related quality of life and years of life. Overweight and obese teenagers are more likely to have gynecologic and obstetric complications, during adolescence and also later in life. Consequences of obese and overweight childhood and adolescence include sexual maturation and reproductive dysfunction, alterations in menstruation, dysmenorrhea, risky sexual behavior, and inefficient use of contraception, polycystic ovary syndrome, bone density abnormalities, macromastia, and an increased risk of breast and endometrial cancer. Obese adolescents are at greater risk of pregnancy and perinatal complications, such as preeclampsia, gestational hypertension and preeclampsia, gestational diabetes mellitus, primary cesarean delivery, and induction of labor, to mention a few. Evidence shows that infants born to obese teenagers are also more likely to have complications including preterm or post-term delivery, small-for-gestational age newborns, macrosomia, meconium aspiration, respiratory distress, and even stillbirth, among others. This comprehensive review focuses on the gynecological and obstetric consequences of obesity in adolescent girls.