Wellons MF, Matthews JJ, Kim C. Ovarian aging in women with diabetes: An overview. Maturitas. 2017 Feb;96(96). 109-113. PMID: 28041589 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC5268844 NIHMSID: NIHMS838491.
Type 2 diabetes is a global epidemic, and the prevalence and incidence of type 1 diabetes are increasing. The negative effects of diabetes on kidneys, nerves, and vessels are well established. The effect of diabetes on reproductive function is less well understood, but important to characterize, given the increasing numbers of young women with diabetes. In this review, we summarize the available literature on how women with diabetes experience ovarian aging, from menarche to menopause. We report that women with type 1 diabetes appear more likely to have ovarian dysfunction, manifested by delayed menses, menstrual irregularities, and possibly earlier menopause. Studies of women with type 2 diabetes are inconsistent but suggest increased anovulation and earlier menopause. Differences in reproductive aging between women with type 1 and type 2 diabetes raise questions about potential differences in the mechanisms contributing to ovarian aging. Although there is shared glycemic dysregulation, fundamental differences in insulin presence and processing distinguish the two diseases. This review suggests that insulin, age at diagnosis, and weight play a role in ovarian dysfunction. More long-term studies are needed to evaluate the multitude of factors that may disrupt hypothalamic, pituitary, and ovarian function in women with diabetes.