Polycystic ovary syndrome and abnormal glucose tolerance

Helena J Teede and Bronwyn G A Stuckey
Med J Aust 2007; 187 (6): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2007.tb01271.x
Published online: 17 September 2007

Potentially serious metabolic sequelae make diagnosis and intervention imperatives

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine abnormality of women of reproductive age. The diagnosis is based on the presence of two of three criteria — ovulatory disturbance, hyperandrogenism, and polycystic ovaries on ultrasound. However, in most women, insulin resistance is central to the pathogenesis of the syndrome, with hyperinsulinaemia driving both androgen production and androgen bioavailability as the key diagnostic feature.1-3 In PCOS, insulin resistance not only contributes to symptoms, but also has serious sequelae including infertility, impaired glucose tolerance, a fourfold to sevenfold increase in diabetes and a potentially increased risk of cardiovascular disease.3

  • 1 Southern Health, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 The Jean Hailes Foundation for Women’s Health, Monash Institute of Health Services Research, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 3 Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth, WA.
  • 4 Keogh Institute for Medical Research, Perth, WA.
  • 5 School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA.

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