Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Is Associated with an Increased Prevalence of Irritable Bowel Syndrome



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.

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Correspondence to Mark Pimentel.

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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

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  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Irritable bowel syndrome