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KIMR study findings: Frequency and outcomes of PCOS

Researchers from the Keogh Institute for Medical Research in conjunction with the University of Western Australia and the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital department of Endocrinology and Diabetes have found that the frequency of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in women with type 2 diabetes has been underestimated.

The study, which was the largest ever conducted specifically in women with type 2 diabetes, found that among women with type 2 diabetes who had been admitted to a West Australian Hospital nearly 40% had a history of PCOS. This is much higher than previously reported.

The study was also able to look at health outcomes between the groups and found that women with PCOS and diabetes generally had worse outcomes than those who had type 2 diabetes alone. They tended to be diagnosed with diabetes earlier, putting them at increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other complications, and were more likely to have experienced breast cancer.

Although they had similar numbers of children to women with diabetes alone, women with PCOS were found to have taken longer to conceive, to have had more miscarriages and had problems during their pregnancies including gestational diabetes and hypertension.

This draws particular attention to the importance of early diagnosis and continued management of women with PCOS throughout their life.

The study was published in Fertility and Sterility.