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Ovarian Cysts Common in Women With Type 2 Diabetes

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"The results suggest that certain therapies for the diabetes might be more likely than others to improve a woman's overall hormonal balance," she says in an interview with WebMD. "The insulin-lowering drugs, such as metformin, are more likely to treat both the diabetes and the hormonal abnormalities of PCOS. So, if a woman has both type 2 diabetes and PCOS, discussing medications with [her] doctor would certainly be in order."

Subjects in the study were recruited from the hospital's Diabetes Clinic. A computer search found 49 premenopausal women with type 2 diabetes being treated with diet alone or with a pill that lowers blood sugar by prompting the body to make more insulin. Eighty-two percent of the 38 women with diabetes who agreed to be studied had an ultrasound showing PCOS. Of these, 52% had skin changes related to having too much male hormone and/or had problems with their menstrual cycles.

Although women with type 2 diabetes have a higher prevalence of PCOS than that reported in the general population, Conway writes that "not all women with high blood levels of insulin, however, develop PCOS, suggesting that [high levels of insulin in the blood] alone is not sufficient for the onset of PCOS."

Vital Information:

  • A new study shows that women with type 2 diabetes are more likely to also have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) than women in the general population.
  • Both conditions are associated with high levels of insulin in the blood and the body's inability to respond to insulin.
  • Diabetic women who have symptoms of PCOS, such as irregular periods, need to treat this condition in addition to treating the diabetes.
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