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Fertil Steril. 2002 Jun;77(6):1095-105.

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

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA.



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.


Review of published literature.


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.


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.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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