What PCOS Might Mean for Your Hormones

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may result in excess adrenal hormones

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Anyssa Garza, PharmD

(RxWiki News) Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may be linked to adrenal disorders, according to a new study.

This study looked at 58 women, 38 of whom had a diagnosis of PCOS. The other 20 women served as a control group. These researchers assessed the women's adrenal function through Liddle’s test, which is typically used to diagnose adrenal gland disorders.

PCOS, related to high levels of androgens (a type of hormone), is characterized by a group of symptoms that include small, cyst-like sacs in the ovaries, irregular (absent or prolonged) menstrual periods, insulin resistance, excessive facial and body hair and infertility

These National Institutes of Health researchers found that 39 percent of the women with PCOS produced more adrenal hormones than what is considered normal. These women also tended to have smaller adrenal glands than normal. 

These researchers said they believe the condition affecting the adrenal glands in these women is micronodular adrenocortical hyperplasia. 

These findings suggest that, in some women who have PCOS, treatment may involve regulating adrenal hormones. 

A limitation of this study is the small sample. That said, these researchers called for larger studies to confirm these results and better identify the actual disorder affecting the adrenal gland. 

This study was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and National Institutes of Health funded this research. Information on potential conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 1, 2016
Last Updated:
July 5, 2016