A New Way to Monitor Your PCOS – Continuous Glucose Monitoring

How to manage your blood sugar without medication

By Gabrielle Finora and the Team at LCWNS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition affecting about 15% of menstruating women and those assigned female at birth (AFAB). While there is no cure for PCOS, unfortunately, adopting a healthy lifestyle and hormone treatments like birth control can help improve symptoms. New research suggests that continuous glucose monitoring devices (CGM) may be a helpful tool for those with insulin-resistant PCOS.

What is PCOS?

PCOS is a common condition caused by hormonal imbalances. It can cause symptoms like irregular periods and ovulation, acne, increased facial hair, and infertility. The primary causes of PCOS are high levels of male hormones (like testosterone), low-grade inflammation, and, most commonly, insulin resistance.

What is Insulin?

Insulin is a hormone that regulates our blood sugar. After eating a meal or snack, insulin is released from the pancreas to break down the food into usable forms of energy or for later use in storage. People with insulin sensitivity may not process insulin correctly, leading to high blood glucose levels. Insulin sensitivity can have profound effects in women, leading to the symptoms experienced in PCOS.

Insulin Sensitivity and PCOS

While it may not be entirely clear, insulin sensitivity plays an important role in PCOS. High insulin levels lower the amount of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) in the blood. This increases circulating male sex hormones, which can interrupt ovulation and regular period cycles. This imbalance can also lead to symptoms like acne and facial hair.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) and PCOS

While continuous glucose monitoring devices were originally designed for diabetes care, they can be valuable for those managing their PCOS. CGM devices adhere to your skin and use their small sensors to monitor blood sugar every few minutes. The data is recorded on a mobile app so you can see how certain habits, workouts, and meals influence your blood sugar. That way, you can proactively change your habits to target and maintain your blood sugar levels, an essential aspect of moderating your PCOS. Even if you do not have pre-diabetes or diabetes, using a CGM device can provide insight into understanding your blood sugar fluctuations.

As most women with PCOS are insulin-resistant, CGM can improve the lives of many women and those AFAB. However, not everyone with PCOS may require a CGM, nor is it covered by all insurance. Consult with your care team before starting this type of treatment.

Do you need help with your PCOS? Or want to learn more? The dietitians at LCWNS are skilled in PCOS and are ready to guide you through your symptoms.

Important Vocabulary:

Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG): a hormone that controls the amount of sex hormones that are active in your body.

Sex hormones: reproductive hormones, such as estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, March 24). PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) and diabetes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved February 2, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/pcos.html

Professional, C. C. medical. (n.d.). PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome): Symptoms & treatment. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8316-polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos

Purwar A, Nagpure S. Insulin Resistance in Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Cureus. 2022 Oct

16;14(10):e30351. doi: 10.7759/cureus.30351. PMID: 36407241; PMCID: PMC9665922.


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