Can You Get Type 2 Diabetes If You Have PCOS?

Dear women, get your blood sugar tested if you have the symptoms of PCOS. Also, learn ways to prevent Type 2 diabetes in the later years.


No doubt, there is a clear link between PCOS and Type 2 diabetes. PCOS, an acronym for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is a lifelong disorder that runs in families. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 6% to 12% of US women of childbearing age have this condition. Regrettably, it is the most common cause of infertility in women.

Some women with PCOS are plagued with a condition called Insulin Resistance (IR). Meaning, their pancreas produces insulin, but the cells are not able to use it properly. Consequently, the blood glucose level rises and the pancreas starts producing more insulin to compensate for the unused hormone. Over time, the pancreatic cells get exhausted, and insulin production slumps. Remember, IR is a hallmark of Type 2 diabetes.

Can PCOS Lead To Type 2 Diabetes?

Of course. However, the risk varies depending on how you work to manage your weight and how early the treatment starts. According to a CDC report, PCOS leads to Type 2 diabetes in 50% of the women as they reach their 40s.

Don’t Miss The Warning Signs of PCOS

1. Menstrual irregularities or missed periods. Most notably, fewer than nine periods a year is definitely a warning sign. Also, some women may have heavy periods.

2. Acne that does not improve with conventional treatments like retinoids.

3. Male-like body and facial hair. Moreover, some women may have receding hairline in a pattern similar to that in men.

4. The presence of multiple follicles on the ovaries on pelvic ultrasound examination.

What You Can Do To Prevent Type 2 Diabetes In PCOS

Treatments can control the symptoms of PCOS and prevent the complications. Talk to your doctor to find the treatment that best suits your condition.

In order to prevent Type 2 diabetes, consider the following lifestyle measures.

1. Lose weight. Surprisingly, shedding as little as 5-10% of the initial weight (given that you are overweight or obese) can make the cells more responsive to insulin.

2. Take a low-carb diet. Eat more fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans. Cut down on high-fat foods.

3. Exercise. Follow a regimen that combines aerobic exercises with resistance training (lifting weights) and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Most importantly, do not forget to exercise at least 3 hours per week.

4. Quit smoking. Smokers have a higher level of male hormone in their bloodstream. As a result, they have more severe symptoms.


CDC. URL Link. Retrieved July 28, 2017.

Diabetes and metabolic syndrome. URL Link. Retrieved July 28, 2017.

PubMed. URL Link. Retrieved July 28, 2017.


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Shailesh is a registered pharmacist and freelance medical writer from Nepal. He has a keen interest in psychology, behavioral science, and health technology. He loves coffee, traveling, cricket and reading.