Understanding and managing disturbances in insulin metabolism and body weight in women with polycystic ovary syndrome

L. Moran, Robert J. Norman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common clinical and metabolic condition in women of reproductive age. It is associated with short-term reproductive and long-term metabolic dysfunction. Treatment has traditionally focused on fertility and hormonal therapy. However, general obesity, central obesity and insulin resistance are strongly implicated in its aetiology and improving these factors has proved highly successful in some clinical situations, reducing the need for costly assisted reproduction. A low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet is thought to improve insulin sensitivity, aid in weight loss and reduction of metabolic and reproductive symptoms and improve the long-term maintenance of a reduced weight. However, there has been recent community interest in adopting a protocol advocating a moderate increase in dietary protein for improving weight loss and PCOS symptoms. Altering the glycaemic index of the diet has also received considerable attention as a regime for promoting satiety and reducing metabolic risk factors for type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. Exercise and other lifestyle changes are essential for altering the short- and long-term effects of PCOS. It is vital that the efficacy of these strategies is assessed so that accurate medical and dietetic advice can be given both to patients and to the health-care community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-736
Number of pages18
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number5 SPEC. ISS.
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Dietary intervention
  • Metformin and insulin resistance
  • Obesity and overweight
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome

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