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Does diabetes affect fertility?

PCOS and Type 2 Diabetes

PCOS stands for polycystic ovarian syndrome, a condition in which hormonal imbalances create multiple cysts on a woman's ovaries, leading to unpredictable menstrual cycles and infertility. Research has shown a strong correlation between PCOS and Type 2 diabetes [source: Insulite Laboratories].

In addition to erratic menstrual cycles, PCOS can also cause women to miss their periods altogether, or produce immature eggs. Both PCOS and Type 2 diabetes are characterized by unhealthy levels of blood glucose and a resistance to insulin. A variety of medications can be prescribed to help lessen or reverse the effects of PCOS. Metformin is one of the most popular drugs. Metformin was prescribed for diabetes long before it was found to be successful in the treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome [sources: Diabetes Forecast; NCCWC]. As with Type 2 diabetes, a healthy lifestyle can also go a long way toward reducing or eliminating PCOS [source: Insulite Laboratories]. The key is to bring blood sugar levels into a normal and stable range while combating insulin resistance.

In some instances, women who are neither unhealthy nor overweight develop Type 2 diabetes and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Hispanic and African-American women also have a greater likelihood of being diagnosed with PCOS [source: Insulite Laboratories].

Diabetes doesn't preclude men and women from reproducing. It does, however, require professional guidance, meticulous maintenance of health, and monitoring of blood sugar and hormonal levels. With proper care and attention, the vast majority of diabetics can have healthy offspring.