Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can increase the risk of developing a range of health conditions.
Women with PCOS have an increased risk of developing prediabetes (the stage before type 2 diabetes) and type 2 diabetes than women without PCOS. With type 2 diabetes, your body blocks glucose from going into your cells, which causes it to produce more insulin. This condition can be improved with a healthy diet and increased physical activity.
Women with PCOS may also develop type 2 diabetes earlier in life, for example, in their 30s and 40s.
Women with PCOS may have:
This can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (i.e. heart disease, heart attack or stroke).
The good news is that women can reduce this risk with a healthy lifestyle (e.g. a balanced diet and regular exercise) – or medicine if required.
Women with PCOS are more likely to develop metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is when different conditions occur together, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Infrequent periods, associated with PCOS, might increase the risk of endometrial cancer. Regular periods (or at least four per year) help to maintain a healthy uterus lining and prevent a build-up of abnormal cells.
PCOS can increase the risk of sleep apnoea. Excessive fatty tissue in the neck can partially block the airway, leading to altered breathing patterns during sleep. This may lead to sleep loss, tiredness and reduced quality of life.
This web page is designed to be informative and educational. It is not intended to provide specific medical advice or replace advice from your health practitioner. The information above is based on current medical knowledge, evidence and practice as at May 2023.