Does PCOS Put Women at Risk for other Health Problems


Pre Conception

Does PCOS put women at risk for other health problems?

Women with PCOS have greater chances of developing several serious health conditions, including life-threatening diseases. Recent studies found that:

  • More than 50 percent of women with PCOS will have diabetes or pre-diabetes (impaired glucose tolerance) before the age of 40.
  • The risk of heart attack is 4 to 7 times higher in women with PCOS than women of the same age without PCOS.
  • Women with PCOS are at greater risk of having high blood pressure.
  • Women with PCOS have high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.
  • Women with PCOS can develop sleep apnea. This is when breathing stops for short periods of time during sleep.

Women with PCOS are also at risk for endometrial cancer. Irregular menstrual periods and the lack of ovulation cause women to produce the hormone estrogen, but not the hormone progesterone. Progesterone causes the endometrium (lining of the womb) to shed each month as a menstrual period. Without progesterone, the endometrium becomes thick, which can cause heavy or irregular bleeding. Over time, this can lead to endometrial hyperplasia, when the lining grows too much, and cancer.

I have PCOS. What can I do to prevent complications?

If you have PCOS, get your symptoms under control at an earlier age to help reduce your chances of having complications like diabetes and heart disease. Talk to your doctor about treating all your symptoms, rather than focusing on just one aspect of your PCOS, such as problems getting pregnant. Also, talk to your doctor about getting tested for diabetes regularly. Other steps you can take to lower your chances of health problems include- eating right, taking up regular exercise and not smoking.

Acknowledgement:  PCOSwww.womenshealth.gov