Back to Ask the Diabetes Team Ask the Diabetes Team

From Sherman, Texas, USA:

Our daughter, who has had type 1 for eight and a half years, has had high blood sugars and ketones for three weeks. She has been hospitalized twice. Our family doctor has said that her ovaries are full of cysts. Is there a link between the two? Can the cystic ovaries cause insulin resistance in a type 1?


This is an excellent question.

Cystic ovaries (or "polycystic ovaries," sometimes referred to as "PCO") can occur for a variety of reasons. They commonly are associated with an imbalance of a woman's male hormone (testosterone)-to female hormone (estrogen). Women do normally make "some" testosterone and, in fact, cannot make estrogen WITHOUT testosterone. Associated symptoms can include excess body and facial hair, irregular menstrual patterns, and excess weight.

Furthermore, PCO is associated with a degree of insulin resistance, meaning insulin, in the expected amounts, is not being as effective. PCO is probably more commonly associated in type 2 diabetes, as those affected women typically are heavier. But, it can occur in type 1 diabetes, just as it can occur in woman without diabetes. There is growing evidence that the insulin resistance may actually CAUSE, and not be a result of, the PCO. PCO commonly is characterized by the irregular hormonal profile; although it sounds silly, you don't actually have to have ovarian cysts in PCO.

So, the questions that must be asked include why is your daughter having recurrent ketosis and probable DKA at home? Assuming that in the hospital the ketosis reverses and her glucose levels are better, then you all must put your heads together to figure out what it is at home that leads to this. The most common answer is ineffective dosing of insulin. I'd suggest that when she is home, YOU or another RESPONSIBLE ADULT be COMPLETELY in charge of her diabetes for a a couple of weeks and physically administer ALL the prescribed insulin doses and check the blood glucoses and screen for ketones, as you have been directed. Is the insulin at home fresh? Is your daughter overweight? Is she using her diabetes for weight loss? Does she get some skewed "secondary gain" from being in the hospital (e.g., gets more sympathy and attention, avoids school, etc.)?

I'd bet there is more here than what appears on the surface. Good luck!


Original posting 5 Feb 2009
Posted to Hyperglycemia and DKA and Other


  Back to Ask the Diabetes Team Return to the Top of This Page

Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:10:18
This Internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your child, you should always consult with a physician or other health care professional.

This site is published by T-1 Today, Inc. (d/b/a Children with Diabetes), a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, which is responsible for its contents. Our mission is to provide education and support to families living with type 1 diabetes.
By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Legal Notice, and Privacy Policy.
© Children with Diabetes, Inc. 1995-2018. Comments and Feedback.