BACKGROUND: Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are reported to be at risk for glucose intolerance. The aim of the study was to describe these risk factors in a population of Danish PCOS women attending a gynecologic clinic and to identify the parameters with the strongest correlation to the fasting blood glucose levels. In addition, we studied whether the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) diagnosed more cases of glucose intolerance in this PCOS population than the fasting plasma glucose value (FPG) alone.
METHODS: Cross-sectional study of 91 women with oligomenorrhea or amenorrhea and elevated serum testosterone, followed by an OGTT in 27 of the women.
RESULTS: Women with a FPG above normal were older and had a higher body mass index (BMI), cholesterol, and triglycerides and a lower sexual hormone binding globulin (SHBG). Of the 21 women older than 34, eight (38%) had a FPG above normal. The OGTT study showed that one of five with abnormal glucose tolerance would not have been diagnosed, if the FPG alone had been performed.
CONCLUSIONS: In this study, 38% of women with symptoms of PCOS over the age of 34 had abnormal blood glucose values. These women should receive blood glucose testing regardless of BMI, testosterone levels and family history of type 2 diabetes mellitus. An OGTT may be necessary to find all cases of impaired glucose intolerance.