Insulin resistance, polycystic ovary syndrome, and type 2 diabetes mellitus

Academic Article


  • Objective: To review the definition and prevalence of two insulin resistance (IR)-associated phenotypes, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and type 2 diabetes mellitus, as well as the risk and nature of their simultaneous presentation. Design: Review of published literature. Result(s): Insulin resistance affects between 10% and 25% of the general population. Two common disorders frequently associated with IR are PCOS, affecting 4% to 6% of reproductive-aged women, and type 2 diabetes mellitus, which is observed in about 2% to 6% of similarly aged women. Overall, about 50% to 70% of women with PCOS and 80% to 100% of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus have variable degrees of IR. Insulin resistance and its secondary hyperinsulinemia appear to underlie many of the endocrine features of PCOS in a large proportion of such patients. The risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus among PCOS patients is 5- to 10-fold higher than normal. In turn, the risk of PCOS among reproductive-aged type 2 diabetes mellitus patients appears to be similarly increased. Conclusion(s): It remains to be determined whether PCOS and type 2 diabetes mellitus represent no more than different clinical manifestations of the same IR syndrome, with their phenotypic differences due to the presence or absence of a coincidental genetic defect at the level of the ovary or pancreas, respectively, or representing the result of etiologically different subtypes of IR syndromes. © 2002 by American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Ovalle F; Azziz R
  • Start Page

  • 1095
  • End Page

  • 1105
  • Volume

  • 77
  • Issue

  • 6