Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors and Environmental Influences on PCOS

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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine condition that affects nearly 4-21% percent of women of reproductive age (Azziz, Carmina, Dewailly, Diamanti-Kandarakis, Escobar-Morreale, Futterweit, Jannsen, Legro, Norman, Taylor, & Witchel, 2006). Symptoms of the syndrome include insulin resistance (IR), infertility, hirsutism, and obesity (Sivanandy, Zuuren, & Aird, 2018). The etiology and cause of the condition remain largely unknown (Roe & Dokras, 2011). The purpose of this study is to examine possible connections between PCOS and Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) by investigating behavioral, obesogenic, and other risk factors associated with T2D. This study also investigates environmental and behavioral exposures experienced by individuals in their daily lives, as well as if these environmental factors correlated with adverse effects on the PCOS condition. Little is known about the environment and its affect, if any, on women diagnosed with PCOS. Two research questions were posed for this study: first, if there is a relationship between PCOS and T2D and second, if there are environmental factors that have any adverse effects on the PCOS condition. The study design was cross-sectional and observational in nature, using a survey administered via social media. Risk factors for T2D include obesity and a higher body mass index (BMI). The results of this study found a statistical association between some areas related to T2D risk factors and an increased likelihood for a selfreported diagnosis of PCOS. On the other hand, this study found no statistical association between environmental factors and adverse effects on the PCOS condition. The public health and future implications of the study are vast. Future analysis could include clinical studies on A1C levels of women with PCOS. This could further define the association between IR and PCOS.
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Public Health
Health Education, Endocrinology