How can women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) lower their risk for developing diabetes mellitus?

Updated: Sep 19, 2019
  • Author: Richard Scott Lucidi, MD, FACOG; Chief Editor: Richard Scott Lucidi, MD, FACOG  more...
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Answer

Patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) who have impaired glucose tolerance should start a comprehensive program of diet and exercise to reduce their risk of developing diabetes mellitus. Encourage moderate physical activity, provided the patient has no contraindications. Discourage smoking because of the increased risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, obese women with PCOS can benefit from a low-calorie diet for weight reduction.

A diet patterned after the type 2 diabetes diet has been recommended for PCOS patients. [86] This diet emphasizes increased fiber; decreased refined carbohydrates, trans fats, and saturated fats; and increased omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids. However, in some obese patients with PCOS, weight loss has improved menstrual regularity. [87] Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation has been shown to reduce liver fat content and other cardiovascular risk factors in women with PCOS, including those with hepatic steatosis, although these effects have not yet been proven to translate into a reduction in cardiometabolic events. [88]


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