Women With PCOS and Obesity at Increased Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes

Women with obesity and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a study presented virtually at ENDO 2021, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting. This risk was only evident in women who met the criteria for being overweight or obese, in contrast to the conclusions of previous studies, according to the authors of the current study.

PCOS is a common disorder characterized by irregular menstrual periods, disruption of normal metabolism, and excessive hair growth. The condition affects up to 10% of all women of reproductive age, and it can lead to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Between 50% and 80% of women with PCOS have obesity, a known risk factor for diabetes.

For the current study, researchers analyzed 23 previous studies in order to assess the impact of obesity in subsequent type 2 diabetes development in women with PCOS. The studies included a total of 60,336 women with PCOS and 259,444 without the disease. A total of 8847 women in the studies had type 2 diabetes.

"We conclude that only women with PCOS and obesity have an increased risk for type 2 diabetes development, in contrast to the current notion that all women with PCOS have a significant risk for developing type 2 diabetes," said lead researcher Sarantis Livadas, MD, PhD, of Athens Medical Center in Athens, Greece, in a press release. "This finding underscores the impact of early detection of this PCOS population and prompt lifestyle modification to avert the development of type 2 diabetes."


Obesity raises type 2 diabetes risk in women with PCOS [news release]. EurekAlert; March 20, 2021. Accessed March 25, 2021. https://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-03/tes-ort031621.php