Women's Health

The Possible Relation Between Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

What is the connection between PCOS and OSA?

Simply stated, an increased level of male sex hormones, primarily testosterone, in women with PCOS is to blame of the occurrence of OSA. However, obesity, which may develop in women with PCOS, also increases the risk of developing OSA. In addition, low level of female sex hormones, primarily progesterone, may contribute to OSA. Progesterone plays an important role in stimulating respiration and upper airway muscle activity. A lack of progesterone may therefore make breathing slightly more difficult for any woman suffering from PCOS. In fact, according to recent studies, women with PCOS appear to be at 30 times higher risk of developing OSA compared to women with healthy ovaries.