Date: 04 May 2014

Gastrointestinal hormones and polycystic ovary syndrome

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Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disease of women in reproductive age. It is characterized by anovulation and hyperandrogenism. Most often patients with PCOS have metabolic abnormalities such as dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, and glucose intolerance. It is not surprising that obesity is high prevalent in PCOS. Over 60 % of PCOS women are obese or overweight. Modulation of appetite and energy intake is essential to maintain energy balance and body weight. The gastrointestinal tract, where nutrients are digested and absorbed, plays a central role in energy homeostasis. The signals from the gastrointestinal tract arise from the stomach (ghrelin release), proximal small intestine (CCK release), and distal small intestine (GLP-1 and PYY) in response to food. These hormones are recognized as “appetite regulatory hormones.” Weight loss is the key in the treatments of obese/overweight patients with PCOS. However, current non-pharmacologic management of body weight is hard to achieve. This review highlighted the gastrointestinal hormones, and discussed the potential strategies aimed at modifying hormones for treatment in PCOS.