High prevalence of the polycystic ovary syndrome and hirsutism in women with type 1 diabetes mellitus

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2000 Nov;85(11):4182-7. doi: 10.1210/jcem.85.11.6931.


The current recommendation for strict metabolic control of type 1 diabetes mellitus requires the administration of supraphysiological doses of insulin, which might result in insulin-mediated stimulation of androgen synthesis, as occurs in insulin-resistant states. At present, the prevalence of hyperandrogenic disorders in women with type 1 diabetes mellitus is unknown. Eighty-five women with type 1 diabetes mellitus were evaluated for symptoms and signs of hyperandrogenism. In 68 of the patients, several serum androgen and hormone concentrations were measured. The polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) was defined by the presence of menstrual dysfunction, together with clinical and/or biochemical evidence of hyperandrogenism, and exclusion of other etiologies. Eighteen healthy women, menstruating regularly, served as controls for the androgenic profiles. Thirty-three patients (38.8%) presented hyperandrogenic disorders (16 had PCOS, and 17 had hirsutism without menstrual dysfunction). Type 1 diabetic patients with PCOS presented increased serum total and free testosterone concentrations, and serum androstenedione levels, but had normal serum sex hormone-binding globulin and dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate levels. Hirsute type 1 diabetic women without menstrual dysfunction presented normal serum androgen levels. There were no significant differences between hyperandrogenic and nonhyperandrogenic type 1 diabetes mellitus women in clinical variables such as the duration of diabetes, age at diagnosis of diabetes, conventional or intensive insulin therapy, mean daily insulin dosage, or metabolic control. In conclusion, women with type 1 diabetes mellitus have a high prevalence of hyperandrogenic disorders, including PCOS and hirsutism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Androgens / blood
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Hirsutism / blood
  • Hirsutism / complications*
  • Hirsutism / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Menarche
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / blood
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / complications*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Spain


  • Androgens
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A