Obesity, insulin, sex steroids and ovulation

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2000 Jun;24 Suppl 2:S71-3. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0801282.


Obesity is a major feature in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and evidence suggests that obesity contributes to the pathogenesis of PCOS by aggravating the intrinsic insulin resistance of these women. Hyperinsulinemia appears to increase circulating androgens in PCOS by stimulating ovarian androgen production and suppressing serum SHBG, and also appears to play a pathogenic role in the anovulation of the disorder. The use of insulin sensitizing drugs has been shown to decrease serum insulin in both obese and nonobese women with PCOS, and to simultaneously reduce circulating ovarian androgens and to improve ovulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Androgens / biosynthesis
  • Female
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones*
  • Humans
  • Hyperinsulinism / physiopathology
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Insulin*
  • Obesity*
  • Ovary / metabolism
  • Ovulation*


  • Androgens
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • Insulin