Does PCOS worsen with age? – The life beyond hot flashes & hormones
If you are someone who has grown up with PCOS, you know how difficult it can get sometimes living with it and how badly it can affect your mood and body clock. Growing up with PCOS can be a hassle but will it stay like this forever? Well, we have a few answers that elaborate on the effects of PCOS in ageing women and might also interest you, if you suffer from PCOS.
Until recently, the focus of PCOS has been on the childbearing years of a woman’s life as it has been primarily viewed as a reproductive disorder. Questions/researches about what happens when women with PCOS age, have remained elusive. For example, does the syndrome get worse and if so, how much worse? Or, does PCOS get better after menopause (because if it is a reproductive disorder, it should obviously stop after menopause, right?). Could PCOS simply disappear altogether?
As science takes medicine and the world to a new tomorrow where freezing your body, so one can come back to life, in the future might be a reality soon, researchers are making great strides in the PCOS area as well. Researchers are now trying to find out different verticals of PCOS and exploring the PCOS effects in ageing women and their transition through menopause with the disease.
A little about PCOS –
PCOS is a hormonal imbalance characterized by high levels of androgens (i.e., male hormones such as testosterone) from the ovaries and is associated with insulin resistance. Small cysts called poly cysts usually surround the ovaries and appear like a strand of pearls on an ultrasound examination. The cysts result from but don’t cause hormonal imbalances.
The overproduction of androgens (a group of hormones that play a key role in male traits and reproductive activity) in women causes excessive hair growth on their face and body, sudden loss of hair (clinically known as alopecia), acne, skin problems, and irregular or absent periods. The majority of women with PCOS who are insulin resistant will experience weight gain in the abdominal area, face difficulty in losing weight, suffer through intense cravings for carbohydrates, and might also have to bear with a sudden downfall in the blood pressure (clinically known as hypoglycemic episodes).
What has age got to do with it?
Well, to be honest, Everything! As it turns out – PCOS is greatly affected by age, as the harmonies in your body obviously change, as you get older. So what happens to leutinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), testosterone and all those other reproductive hormones that have made PCOS so difficult to live with thus far? Well, it looks as though the sex hormones improve with age but remain different in women with PCOS than those without the syndrome.
What!? Can you say that in English, please?
Well, in layman’s language, the reproductive lifespan in women with PCOS has been found to extend beyond that of women without PCOS due to higher adrenal and ovarian androgen levels. Also, for some women who struggle with infertility, they may have a higher likelihood of pregnancy as they get older. So it’s not all bad news after all!
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!
If you have PCOS, this is actually true for you as 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.
How do I know for sure? What was this research exactly?
In a prospective study, researchers measured the height and weight of the women with PCOS, who they had first examined 21 years prior. Researchers found that the effects of PCOS in ageing women and women without the syndrome were the same. Both types of women got shorter and had greater BMIs and waist-hip-ratios.
The study further elaborated that, unlike the women without PCOS, women with the syndrome maintained their weight over the 21 year period. Body fat redistribution along with height loss explains why women affected with PCOS had larger waist circumference measurements and increased BMI values as they got older. Elevated waist circumference is associated with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease in women with PCOS. In addition, increased waist circumference and BMI can negatively impact body image, affect self-esteem, and increase the risk of depression in the population.
The study also found that total testosterone in women affected by PCOS does gradually decrease to normal levels by the age of 61. Though the effects of PCOS in ageing women, when it comes to DHEAS (a hormone which plays a role in developing male secondary sexual characteristics at puberty) declines with age but doesn’t reach normal levels until 20 years after menopause.
The study also came up with surprising results and revealed that older women with PCOS still had lower levels of sex-hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), a hormone that binds to testosterone, and higher free androgen index (FAI) than controls. So, the good news is – Older women with PCOS reported fewer hot flashes and episodes of sweating compared with women without PCOS, they also reported significantly more hirsutism or male-pattern hair growth.
This evidence led the researchers to conclude that women with PCOS reach menopause later than women without the syndrome and differ in reproductive hormones.
What are the Metabolic changes that affect ageing women with PCOS?
After reading the detailed view of how PCOS can have an impact on your life as you age, you must also be wondering – Will I be able to lose those extra kilos finally as I age? How will PCOS affect my metabolism as I age? Do I have to start dieting or will it go, on its own? Well, we might have a few of these answers for you!
Another cross-sectional study, where the effects of PCOS in ageing women were determined by examining pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women with PCOS and compared them to health controls. The researchers concluded that women with PCOS are at risk for life-long health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome.
Hence, it has been established that women with PCOS have higher levels of insulin than women without the disease, independent of weight. We also know that women with the syndrome have more inflammation as shown by higher C-reactive protein (CRP) levels and have more dyslipidemia (high triglycerides and low HDL “good” cholesterol). So the bad news is: insulin and other metabolic and inflammatory markers persist and worsen after menopause, but mostly if you are overweight.
But don’t get too upset over this because we offer a kit that helps you with PCOS with guaranteed results!
Here’s some more good news to add a little cherry on top! So as it turns out, PCOS in ageing women increases insulin resistance in obese women but not in lean and overweight women with the disease. In fact, women in the study who were not overweight or did not gain weight in menopause, did not develop type 2 diabetes.
Lean women actually improved their insulin levels as they got older. Authors from the study suggested, “if women with PCOS do not become obese they may exhibit a better metabolic profile during their reproductive years.”
So, all you have to do is maintain a good and nutritious diet to maintain a healthy body.
How does it work?
The Nirogam’s PCOS kit treats the precise symptoms of PCOS and is specifically designed to cater to women suffering from PCOS. Few of the things it targets are as follows:
- Nirogam’s PCOS kit helps to reduce male hormones in the female body, which is the leading cause of PCOS and it also treats hormonal imbalance
- The kit comes with tablets infused with Ayurvedic herbs which helps in optimization of ovarian functions and also promotes ovulation
- It helps to enhance female reproductive health and fertility
- It also works to improve the endocrine functions – all of which are responsible for PCOS
The kit also comes with Kanchanar Guggulu which is a proven remedy to remove growths, swelling and lumps like fibroid and cysts.
Obviously changing a lifestyle or starting something new altogether can be a hassle, so much so that you might want to end it before it even begins. That’s why we have come up with a solution where you buy just one kit to solve all PCOS related problems. You can also take advice from our doctors for better results!
Do you suffer from PCOS? Have the effects of PCOS changed for you as you age? Let us know in the comment section below!