November 29


The Link Between Diabetes and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

By Gabriela

November 29, 2021

According to estimations 5 to 20 % (5 million) of women in the United States have PCOS, i.e., polycystic ovary syndrome.

This is the most common disorder of the reproductive hormone of women of childbearing age. Also, it is the first cause of female infertility.

PSOC is said to be a form of prediabetes since both conditions have much in common. PCOS connects with high levels of circulating insulin, a characteristic of type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms of PCOS

  • Acne
  • Loss or thinning of hair
  • Loss or irregular periods
  • Excessive hair growth
  • Fertility problems
  • Weight gain

Causes and Link

It is believed that weight gain and insulin resistance are the 2 main contributing factors to PCOS. Women that have type 1 diabetes have an increased chance of developing PCOS.

A possible connection between these two conditions might be the big swings in insulin levels that accompany insulin injections that might put additional stress on the ovaries.

It is the same for women that have type 2 diabetes, who are in the early stages of this condition and have high levels of insulin since their bodies eliminate it to combat their insulin resistance.

Typically insulin resistance causes the body to make more insulin than it normally does. Therefore, the higher levels of insulin can cause the ovaries to make excessive amounts of testosterone that might impair normal ovulation to occur.

Increased insulin levels might also lead to weight gain which usually links to the development of both conditions. Many women who have PCOS are usually obese or overweight.

However, just 5 % of weight loss can improve the symptoms of PCOS. Moreover, it seems that something is missing here since there are women with PCOS who are lean.

Therefore, more research is necessary before there is a definite cause of PCOS.

Treatment of PCOS

When it comes to PCOS, i.e., polycystic ovary syndrome there are 2 medications that are usually prescribed.

The first medication is birth control pills which establish a menstrual cycle and moderate the male hormones. And the second is metformin which lowers insulin resistance. Along with medications, both conditions are managed with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

We already mentioned that a loss of 5 % of body weight could improve the PCOS symptoms. However, regarding diabetes, it is not known whether the weight loss itself or the behaviors which lead to weight loss help.

Also, many herbalists recommend herbs for hormonal symptoms such as Dong Quai, chaste tree berry, and licorice. And with insulin resistance, it is recommended fenugreek, bitter melon, Gymnema, and cinnamon are.

Self-management of PCOS

There are a few ways to improve and manage life with PCOS. Those ways are:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid all refined carbs
  • Avoid environmental chemicals, such as plastics and pesticides.
  • Consume more fiber
  • Eat small meals
  • Eliminate caffeine, processed foods, dairy products, alcohol, and trans fats.

Those who have both conditions should consult a doctor and find out more about a suitable treatment. The doctor needs to know about all the changes in their usual treatment plan.

Source CDC | CDC | Diabetes


  • Gabriela

    Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Health Page, Fitness trainer and instructor has dedicated her career to educating and informing people for over 10 years. As one of the most passionate diabetes advocates, Gabi has worked tirelessly to ensure that those people receive the education and support they need to properly manage their diabetes and achieve their health, fitness and weight loss goals.

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