Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Diabetes
There are two common disorders that are caused, at least in part, by insulin resistance. Diabetes is one of them, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the other. While the causes of each disorder are different, there are many common features.
PCOS is the most common cause of infertility in women. With PCOS, the egg sacs within the ovary clump together and form cysts, blocking the monthly release of eggs. As a result, women with PCOS have irregular menstrual cycles or no menstrual cycles at all, limiting fertility.
While the precise causes of both disorders remain elusive, there is a statistically significant relationship between PCOS and type 2 diabetes in several large recent studies. An Italian study, published in Diabetes, followed a group of 225 women with PCOS for up to 17 years. When the study ended, nearly 40% of the women in the study had developed diabetes. This contrasts with about 6% of healthy women of the same age in the same population who developed diabetes.
A Swedish study compared 87 women without PCOS and 84 women with PCOS. After 14 years, 21% of the women with PCOS developed diabetes, while only 4.5% of those without PCOS became diabetic.
Androgens and Insulin
With PCOS, the ovaries tend to make too many androgens, which are male hormones such as testosterone. There is some evidence that insulin resistance, resulting in high levels of insulin in the blood, might be a contributing factor to increased androgen production.
The metabolic syndrome is defined as the presence of raised fasting glucose levels or diagnosed diabetes, abdomina Continue reading