top of page

More than 50% of individuals with PCOS develop Type 2 Diabetes before the age of 40.[1]  Roughly 40% of individuals with PCOS have diabetes compared to 6% in the general population.[2] In this article we explore the link between PCOS and Type 2 diabetes, a condition that results when there is a problem with the way the body regulates and uses sugar as fuel.[3]

PCOS is associated with elevated levels of androgens,[4] sex hormones that are produced in the ovaries, start at puberty and play a key role in reproductive health.[5] 

Find out more about PCOS and Androgen Excess.

  • An Increase in the level of circulating androgens disrupts the way that adipose tissue, the body fat or connective tissue that extends throughout your body,[6] metabolizes glucose;[7]

The adipose tissue produces less adiponectin, a hormone that helps with insulin sensitivity and inflammation,[8] and more leptin,[9] a hormone that causes you to feel hungry in efforts to maintain enough fat stores for long-term health;[10]

  • Reduced adiponectin leads to insulin resistance, whereby the body doesn’t respond as it should to the effects of insulin;[11]

  • In response to insulin resistance, the pancreas produces more insulin, leading to increased levels of insulin in the blood, also known as hyperinsulinemia;[12]

  • In parallel, insulin resistance can result in an imbalance of the types of fat cells or lipids in the blood, also known as dyslipidemia;[13]

  • As a result of dyslipidemia, the liver increases the production of glucose or blood sugar and reduces glucose uptake as a protective measure, leading to the accumulation of triacylglycerols, a type of fat cell[14] within the liver;[15] and

  • Eventually, the pancreas is no longer able to produce enough insulin to maintain healthy levels of blood sugar and the individual develops Type 2 diabetes[16]

  • An accumulation of adipose tissue also contributes to increasing insulin resistance since this tissue is itself a source of circulating androgens.[17]  Insulin resistance affects 95% of individuals with PCOS who are obese compared to 75% of individuals who are lean.[18]

Individuals without PCOS can also develop Type 2 diabetes due to weight gain and accumulation of adipose tissue.[19]  In contrast, Type 1 diabetes, where the pancreas does not produce any insulin, is believed to be an autoimmune condition whereby the body destroys the cells in the pancreas before symptoms appear.[20]

Reviewed by Dr. K, one of Neuraura’s friends and trusted advisors.



D2 Type is an innovative digital health company combining digital technologies with life coaches to prevent and reverse diabetes. 


Want to learn more about metabolic health conditions related to PCOS?  Check out the sections on hyperinsulinemia, dyslipidemia and gestational diabetes

Complications – Cardiometabolic

PCOS and Diabetes

bottom of page