Thursday, March 19, 2015

Aging’s Effect on PCOS

I've been doing some interesting reading the last few days regarding how PCOS is affected by aging. I've noted before how after years of having an extremely irregular cycle, for the last couple of years I've been regular like clockwork ... if anything it's too frequent, and when weight loss has already slowed down as I approach goal, it's really frustrating dealing with monthly weight gain every 3-4 weeks. Here's some of what I learned:

As women age and transition through menopause, estrogen levels naturally decrease.

According to new research, it appears that reproductive hormones in women with PCOS differ from women who don’t have PCOS after menopause. In fact, the reproductive life span in women with PCOS has been found to extend beyond that of women without PCOS due to higher adrenal and ovarian androgen levels.

Surprisingly, women with PCOS are more likely to experience regular menstrual cycles as they age because of the natural decline in androgen levels that occurs in response to menopause. Women with PCOS reach menopause later than women without the syndrome and differ in reproductive hormones.

Older women with PCOS reported less hot flashes and sweating than non-PCOS women but reported significantly more hirsutism (64%) compared with controls (9%). Hirsutism symptoms such as unwanted hair growth and balding worsen with aging. These dermatological effects can be detrimental to a woman’s self-esteem and body image.

So basically I'll likely experience menopause later ... but when I do there should be less unpleasant side effects. That part's ok. On the other hand, the unpleasant side effects of PCOS will only get worse.

It's not enough I could never have children? That I have had to cope with years of hirsutism, insulin resistance and weight struggles, and now hair loss as I age? I've had weight issues my whole life but now, when I've finally gotten it under control, when I'm finally approaching my goal weight ... PCOS just has more unpleasantness in store for me? I keep hoping at least I'll be rid of my monthly visitor soon, but it would appear that's not likely. Ah the joys of PCOS. Well I'll try to focus on the one good thing ... when menopause finally does come, less chance of hot flashes. Hopefully.


  1. Franziska Spritzler the 'low carb dietitian' wrote an interesting article recently - you may have read it

    All the best Jan

    1. Thanks Jan, yes I have read that and her book as well. I am amazed that doctors and dietitians still recommend high carbs for those with diabetes and PCOS but I think its slowly changing. Now I am more concerned with how PCOS changes as I age. I always thought being so irregular I wouldn't know if I was starting to go through it but now that I am so regular again I think I might notice when it starts to taper off.


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