Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and Diabetes: Is there any link?

Posted by Manju Sukumar Katikala on Sat, Jul 22, 2017  
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PCOS is a hormonal disorder seen in most of the women. It affects the ability of the women to produce eggs. In this condition, the ovaries appear with enlarged size and present multiple small sac-like structures (cysts) on the outer edges. These cysts contain immature/undeveloped eggs which may lead to infertility. The exact cause for PCOS is unknown yet. Mostly genetical and environmental factors play a major role in the development of PCOS.


How is PCOS linked with Diabetes?


  • PCOS and diabetes are linked with each other by a major factor i.e., excess fat and insulin resistance.

  • Excess fat leads to insulin resistance, which in turn results in development of diabetes.

  • Reducing excess fat in the body and controlling insulin sensitivity may make the ovaries to “breathe” easier.

  • Several studies have found that women who had PCOS were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to women who didn’t have. PCOS is associated with higher levels of insulin in the blood. Higher levels of insulin are seen in case of few patients with type 2 diabetes, who are unable to utilise their insulin due to insulin resistance.

  • PCOS has also been implicated with type 1 diabetes.


Symptoms of PCOS:


  • Irregular periods

  • Infertility

  • Weight gain or obesity

  • Excess hair growth on face and body

  • Scalp hair fall

  • Acne

  • Hyperpigmented skin (acanthosis nigricans)


Does treating PCOS treat diabetes or each other?


  • No single pharmaceutical agent is approved for the treatment of PCOS and diabetes yet. Choosing a healthy lifestyle and nutrition help live better.

  • Regular exercise and weight loss is most crucial for keeping the body healthy and fight against obesity and type 2 diabetes, and it can also help in treating the symptoms associated with PCOS.

  • Reducing excess blood sugar and allowing the body to use insulin more effectively may benefit people with diabetes as well as women with PCOS.

  • A balanced and gluten-free diet help to reduce the risk of diabetes and to manage weight. 


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