Gut Microbiota and Oral Contraceptive Use in Overweight and Obese Patients with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2020 Dec 1;105(12):dgaa600. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgaa600.


Context: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common and complex endocrine disorder. Emerging animal and human data point to various changes in microbiota that could be linked with the syndrome. However, the effects of therapeutic approaches on gut microbial composition in women with PCOS remain unknown.

Objective: We aimed to assess whether gut microbial composition is altered in PCOS and to determine the potential impact of oral contraceptive (OC) use on gut microbiota.

Design: Prospective observational study.

Setting: Tertiary referral hospital.

Patients and other participants: The study included 17 overweight/obese patients with PCOS and 15 age- and body mass index-matched healthy control women.

Main outcome measures: At baseline, clinical, hormonal, and metabolic evaluations and gut microbial composition assessment by 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing were performed for both groups. All measurements were repeated in patients after receiving an OC along with general lifestyle advice for 3 months.

Results: Alpha and beta diversity did not show a difference between patients with PCOS and healthy controls at baseline and remained unaltered after 3 months of OC use in the PCOS group. Relative abundance of Ruminococcaceae was higher in PCOS (P = 0.006) and did not show a significant change after treatment.

Conclusion: Women with PCOS have an increased abundance of Ruminococcaceae, whereas short-term OC use does not alter compositional features of gut microbiota in the syndrome.

Keywords: PCOS; dysbiosis; microbiome; obesity; oral contraceptive.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Contraceptives, Oral / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Overweight / complications
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / complications
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / analysis
  • Turkey / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Contraceptives, Oral
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S