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

Fernando Ovalle, Ricardo Azziz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

350 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1095-1105
Number of pages11
JournalFertility and sterility
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Androgen excess
  • Diabetes
  • Glucose intolerance
  • Insulin resistance
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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