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Link Between Diabetes and PCOS

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information about the link found between PCOS and diabetes iStockphoto/Thinkstock

I had not heard much about polycystic ovary syndrome. When I was a very young teen with type 1 diabetes, I ended up with a cyst on my ovaries. It was very painful, but went away.

There seems to be a higher incidence between diabetes and PCOS. Why wasn’t I told about this increased likelihood?

What is PCOS?

According to the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development, “PCOS is a condition in which a woman’s ovaries and, in some cases the adrenal glands, produce more androgens (a type of hormone) than normal. High levels of these hormones interfere with the development and release of eggs as part of ovulation. As a result, fluid-filled sacs or cysts can develop on the ovaries.”

Many times the first indicator of PCOS is an irregular menstrual cycle. There can be an increase in small fluid-filled sacs or cysts on or in the ovaries.

This can result in irregular periods and significant cases of fertility problems. There can also be symptoms of an increase in male hormones, such as increased facial hair and male pattern baldness.

An increase in weight gain and acne can be symptoms. Very dark patches of skin can develop around the neck, breasts, arms or thighs.

Is there a link between PCOS and diabetes? Many people think the answer to that question is yes. The symptoms vary and the numbers are not perfectly clear.

There is a link between insulin sensitivity and PCOS. It is believed that PCOS can cause insulin sensitivity. Increased insulin can cause an increase of androgen hormones.

There also seems to be a link between PCOS and obesity. This also has a high correlation with Type 2 Diabetes.

The symptoms can be misleading, allowing a patient to see one doctor about one particular issue and another for a subsequent issue. I would recommend reviewing the entire list of symptoms and bring all of these to the attention of your doctor, especially if you have diabetes.

There is no current cure for PCOS or diabetes, but taking some proactive steps to weight, diet, and medication may help the symptoms and complications of both conditions.

By Marianne Tetlow “The Diabetes Coach”

Add a Comment2 Comments


Very interesting article linking these two. Thanks for sharing.

Marielaina Perrone DDS
Henderson Cosmetic Dentist

October 5, 2012 - 8:27pm
EmpowHER Guest

Your article was really helpful in brushing up my thoughts regarding the disease. Thanks for sharing.

October 5, 2012 - 4:04am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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