Dr. Cobin describes if a woman going through menopause will experience altered polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) symptoms.
Well, of course at menopause it’s normal to stop having periods. So the woman whose presenting sign was infrequent periods or difficulty ovulating–that’s gone away.
The secretion of testosterone, the hormone that comes from the ovaries, that causes the hirsutism, the hair growth, acne and scalp hair loss, tends to diminish somewhat during the menopause or even in the perimenopausal period as the ovaries begin to slow down.
So some of those signs and symptoms may improve, if not dissipate. What’s interesting though of course is that the underlying metabolic factors: the resistance to insulin and the consequences of impaired glucose tolerance, impaired fasting glucose, ultimately progression to type 2 diabetes.
The increased risk of hypertension and the increased risk of heart attack and stroke of course increase with age, and what’s disturbing to us, and of concern to us, is that these women already manifest many of the problems with insulin resistance even in their late teens, early 20s and early 30s.
Studies have shown an increased incidence for instance of calcification of the arteries of the heart is shown by fast CT scans, an increase in what’s called the carotid intima-media thickness, which is a marker for coronary artery disease in women in their 30s, six times as frequent in polycystic ovarian syndrome women as in the general population. So as those women age and move into menopause or past, their incidence of heart attack and stroke we believe is substantially higher because of these things that have been developing in the decades before.
About Dr. Cobin, M.D., M.A.C.E.:
Dr. Rhoda Cobin is Past-President of the American College of Endocrinology, a Past-President of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), and a Master of the American College of Endocrinology (ACE). Dr. Cobin has been in private practice in northern New Jersey for 31 years. She is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and is Co-Chief of the Mount Sinai's Thyroid/Endocrinology Clinic.