Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 5–10% of reproductive-aged women. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic intestinal disorder that affects up to 20% of adults, more often women. We evaluate if there is a relationship between these common conditions.
Polycystic ovary syndrome and control subjects were prospectively recruited. A questionnaire was given to determine their gastrointestinal symptoms. Body mass index (BMI) and percent body fat were also calculated.
About 65 female subjects completed the study. Among the 36 PCOS patients, 15 subjects (42%) had IBS, compared to 3 subjects (10%) among controls (p < 0.01). Control subjects were leaner (BMI: 27.5 ± 1.1 vs. 31.4 ± 1.2 kg/m2, p < 0.05) than PCOS patients. Among women with PCOS, those with IBS had a higher BMI (32.9 ± 2.0 kg/m2) compared to those with PCOS but no IBS (30.3 ± 1.6 kg/m2) and controls (27.5 ± 1.1 kg/m2; p < 0.05). This difference was true even after correcting for BMI and age (p < 0.01).
Women with PCOS have a higher prevalence of IBS compared to healthy controls. When IBS is present with PCOS, a higher BMI and percent body fat is seen compared to PCOS alone.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Azziz R, Sanchez LA, Knochenhauer ES, et al. Androgen excess in women: experience with over 1,000 consecutive patients. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004;89(2):453–462.
Adams J, Polson DW, Franks S. Prevalence of polycystic ovaries in women with anovulation and idiopathic hirsutism. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1986;293(6543):355–359.
Azziz R. Controversy in clinical endocrinology: diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome: the Rotterdam criteria are premature. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2006;91(3):781–785.
Ehrmann DA. Polycystic ovary syndrome. N Engl J Med. 2005;352(12):1223–1236.
Yildiz BO, Knochenhauer ES, Azziz R. Impact of obesity on the risk for polycystic ovary syndrome. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008;93(1):162–168.
Kiddy DS, Hamilton-Fairley D, Bush A, et al. Improvement in endocrine and ovarian function during dietary treatment of obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1992;36(1):105–111.
Orio F, Vuolo L, Palomba S, Lombardi G, Colao A. Metabolic and cardiovascular consequences of polycystic ovary syndrome. Minerva Ginecol. 2008;60(1):39–51.
Kelly CC, Lyall H, Petrie JR, Gould GW, Connell JM, Sattar N. Low grade chronic inflammation in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001;86:2453–2455.
Dunaif A, Graf M, Mandeli J, Laumas V, Dobrjansky A. Characterization of groups of hyperandrogenic women with acanthosis nigricans, impaired glucose tolerance, and/or hyperinsulinemia. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1987;65:499–507.
Bommelaer G, Poynard T, Le Pen C, et al. Prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and variability of diagnostic criteria. Gastroentérologie clinique et biologique. 2004;28:554–561.
Wilson S, Roberts L, Roalfe A, Bridge P, Singh S. Prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome: a community survey. Br J Gen Pract. 2004;54:495–502.
Gwee KA, Wee S, Wong ML, Png DJ. The prevalence, symptom characteristics, and impact of irritable bowel syndrome in an Asian urban community. Am J Gastroenterol. 2004;99:924–931.
El-Serag HB. Impact of irritable bowel syndrome: prevalence and effect on health-related quality of life. Rev Gastroenterol Disord. 2003;3(Suppl 2):S3–11.
Hungin AP, Whorwell PJ, Tack J, Mearin F. The prevalence, patterns and impact of irritable bowel syndrome: an international survey of 40,000 subjects. Ailment Pharmacol Ther. 2003;17:643–650.
Agreus L, Svardsudd K, Nyren O, Tibblin G. Irritable bowel syndrome and dyspepsia in the general population: overlap and lack of stability over time. Gastroenterology. 1995;109:671–680.
Drossman DA, Zhiming L, Andruzzi E, et al. US householders survey of functional gastrointestinal disorders. Dig Dis Sci. 1993;38:1569–1580.
Saito YA, Schoenfeld P, Locke GRI. The epidemiology of irritable bowel syndrome in North America: a systemic review. Am J Gastroenterol. 2002;97:1910–1915.
Longstreth GF, Thompson WG, Chey WD, Houghton LA, Mearin F, Spiller RC. Functional bowel disorders. Gastroenterology. 2006;130:1480–1491.
Lee OY, Mayer EA, Schmulson M, Chang L, Naliboff B. Gender-related differences in IBS symptoms. Am J Gastroenterol. 2001;96:2184–2193.
Talley NJ, Boyce P, Jones M. Identification of distinct upper and lower gastrointestinal symptom groupings in an urban population. Gut. 1998;42:690–695.
Corney RH, Stanton R. Physical symptom severity, psychological and social dysfunction in a series of outpatients with irritable bowel syndrome. J Psychosom Res. 1990;34:483–491.
Zawadzki JK, Dunaif A. Diagnostic criteria for polycystic ovary syndrome: towards a rational approach. In: Dunaif A, Givens JR, Haseltine FP, Merriam GR, eds. Polycystic ovary syndrome. Boston: Blackwell; 1992:377–384.
Pimentel M, Chow EJ, Lin HC. Normalization of lactulose breath testing correlates with symptom improvement in irritable bowel syndrome. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Am J Gastroenterol. 2003;98(2):412–419.
Drossman DA, Richter JE, Talley NJ, et al., eds. Functional gastrointestinal disorders: diagnosis, pathophysiology, and treatment: a multinational consensus. Boston: Little Brown; 1994.
Hungin AP, Chang L, Locke GR, Dennis EH, Barghout V. Irritable bowel syndrome in the United States: prevalence, symptom patterns and impact. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2005;21(11):1365–1375.
Drossman DA, Whitehead WE, Camilleri M. Irritable bowel syndrome: a technical review for practice guideline development. Gastroenterology. 1997;112:2120–2137.
Camilleri M, Mayer EA, Drossman DA, et al. Improvement in pain and bowel function in female irritable bowel patients with alosetron, a 5-HT3 receptor antagonist. Ailment Pharmacol Ther. 1999;13:1149–1159.
Mueller-Lissner SA, Fumagalli I, Bardhan KD, et al. Tegaserod, a 5HT4 receptor partial agonist, relieves symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome patients with abdominal pain, bloating and constipation. Ailment Pharmacol Ther. 2000;15:1655–1666.
Sperber AD, Atzmon Y, Neumann L, et al. Fibromyalgia in the irritable bowel syndrome: studies of prevalence and clinical implications. Am J Gastroenterol. 1999;94:3541–3546.
Giamberardino M. Sex-related and hormonal modulation of visceral pain. In: Fillingim R, ed. Sex gender and pain, vol. 17. Seattle: IASP; 2000.
Messing EM and Stamey TA. Intersititial cystitis: early diagnosis, pathology, and treatment. Urology. 1978;12:381–392.
Koziol JA, Clark DC, Gittes RF, et al. The natural history of interstitial cystitis: a survey of 374 patients. J Urol. 1993;149:465–469.
Hand JR. Interstitial cystitis: report of 223 cases (204 women and 19 men). J Urol. 1949;61:291–310.
Simon LJ, Landis JR, Erickson DR, et al. The interstitial cystitis data base study: concepts and preliminary baseline descriptive statistics. Urology. 1997;49:64–75.
Wolfe F, Ross K, Anderson J. The prevalence and characteristics of fibromyalgia in the general population. Arthritis Rheum. 1995;38:19–28.
Heitkemper MM, Jarrett M. Patterns of gastrointestinal and somatic symptoms across the menstrual cycle. Gastroenterology. 1992;102:505–513.
Whitehead WE, Cheskin LJ, Heller BR, et al. Evidence for exacerbation of irritable bowel syndrome during menses. Gastroenterology. 1990;98:1485–1489.
Heitkemper MM, Cain KC, Jarrett ME, Burr RL, Hertig V, Bond EF. Symptoms across the menstrual cycle in women with irritable bowel syndrome. Am J Gastroenterol. 2003;98(2):420–430.
Ovalle F, Azziz R. Insulin resistance, polycystic ovary syndrome, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Fertil Steril. 2002;77(6):1095–1105.
Talley NJ, Howell S, Poulton R. Obesity and chronic gastrointestinal tract symptoms in young adults: a birth cohort study. Am J Gastroenterol. 2004;99:1807–1814.
Delgado-Aros S, Locke GR 3rd, Camilleri M, et al. Obesity is associated with increased risk of gastrointestinal symptoms: a population-based study. Am J of Gastroenterol. 2004;99(9):1801–1806.
About this article
Cite this article
Mathur, R., Ko, A., Hwang, L.J. et al. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Is Associated with an Increased Prevalence of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Dig Dis Sci 55, 1085–1089 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10620-009-0890-5
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Irritable bowel syndrome