Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common female hormone disorder that affects around 1 in 5 women in the UK. The condition causes a hormonal imbalance, which in turn causes fluid-filled sacs to develop in the ovaries. Considering its prevalence, there are still many misconceptions about PCOS, especially concerning its links to menopause.
World Menopause Day takes place on 18th October 2020, and in light of this event, we are sharing important facts about PCOS and its impact on the female body during perimenopause and menopause. With many women around the world suffering from this condition, sharing helpful information can improve the lives of those with the condition by erasing the stigma, correcting misinformation, and encouraging those in need to seek help from a specialist.
If you would like to know more about PCOS, read on for five lesser-known facts.
1. Menopause does not cure PCOS
Yes, menopause carries with it many changes to your hormones, but it does not guarantee that your PCOS will disappear. The best way to manage your symptoms is through lifestyle changes or hormone therapy.
“Hormone therapy, also known as HRT, is an effective treatment for managing the symptoms of both PCOS and menopause, as both are caused by a hormonal imbalance. HRT balances out the hormones to bring them back to the level they should be in the body, and as a result, eases symptoms.” explains Dr Albert Aka, Consultant Gynecologist here at The Gynae Centre.
2. Having PCOS can delay menopause
One study shows that women with PCOS can go through menopause an average of two years later than women without the condition.
3. Those with PCOS should keep an eye on their blood sugar levels
PCOS can make your body less responsive to insulin, which in turn can cause high blood sugar levels. This can increase an already high level of male hormones (testosterone, for example) in your body (caused by PCOS), making your symptoms worse. Weight gain is a symptom of menopause, which can also increase insulin resistance, so it is important to keep an eye on weight and blood sugar levels during this time.
4. PCOS can develop at any age after puberty
Most women find out that they have PCOS in their 20s or 30s. However, the condition can develop at any time during a woman’s reproductive years, and it is not uncommon for women to develop PCOS during perimenopause.
5. Symptoms of PCOS and menopause can be very similar
Everybody experiences menopause differently, however, there are some common symptoms of menopause that also appear in a person with PCOS. Therefore, it can be difficult to tell the two conditions apart, especially if a patient only begins seeing signs of PCOS in her 40s. Some of these symptoms include:
- Irregular or missed periods
- Weight gain
- Mood swings
- Difficulty sleeping
- More or new hair growth in areas such as the face and chest
- Difficulty sleeping
We specialise in high-quality gynaecology care and have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating PCOS, and symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. If you feel you may be suffering with PCOS, whether during menopause or not, contact our London clinic on 020 7580 8090 or book a telephone or video consultation here.