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A Cause of Female Infertility May Up Heart Risk

Researchers See Link Between PCOS and Metabolic Syndrome

Are the Conditions Connected?

Participants with PCOS and metabolic syndrome had higher testosterone levels than those without metabolic syndrome.

They also showed signs of the metabolic syndrome more frequently and may have had more severe insulin resistance.

Age and obesity didn't change the results. Though the women were 20-39 years old, their prevalence of metabolic syndrome was typical of women almost twice their age.

"The prevalence rate of metabolic syndrome in our women with PCOS was comparable to the 44% rate reported for women aged 60-69 in the general population," write John Nestler, MD, and colleagues.

Nestler leads the Medical College of Virginia's division of endocrinology and metabolism. He has devoted much of his career to studying PCOS.

Study's Limits

The study included a relatively small number of PCOS patients, and the researchers didn't have all the data they wanted, since the study was retrospective.

Waist measurements -- a component of metabolic syndrome -- weren't known for all the women, so BMI (body mass index) was used instead. Formal analysis of excess hair patterns in women with PCOS weren't available, and insulin resistance wasn't directly measured.

Possibly, some women may have misremembered their menstrual irregularities or family medical histories, say the researchers.

Still, they say the findings are significant since the women weren't handpicked and the rate of metabolic syndrome was high.

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