Does Menopause Affect Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?
Polycystic ovaries are conditions where there is excess amount of male hormones in the body. These include testosterone, oestrogen, androstenedione, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate or DHEA. They are all classified into two types: primary and secondary. Primary PCOS occurs when the ovaries produce too much of these female hormones. Secondary PCOS occurs when they do not make enough of them.
Primary PCOS may lead to other health problems such as irregular periods, infertility, acne, hair loss, obesity, insulin resistance and high cholesterol levels. Women with primary PCOS have higher risk for developing endometriosis and ovarian cancer. If left untreated it can result in early onset diabetes mellitus (type 2).
Secondary PCOS is different from primary PCOS in that it develops due to genetic factors. In some cases, women with secondary PCOS develop polycystic ovaries without any underlying medical condition. However, most cases of secondary PCOS are caused by lifestyle choices such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and stress. There are several medications available for treating secondary PCOS including metformin, clomiphene citrate and niacinamide.
Menopause Affects Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Metformin is a medication that can be used in PCOS. It releases the glucose from the food you eat and helps you to control your blood sugar levels. Most women with PCOS are usually overweight or obese. This condition is called metabolic syndrome and is common in women who have insulin resistance. Metformin helps to correct this problem by increasing the amount of insulin released in the body after eating.
Metformin also helps you to lose weight by making your body uses the food you eat more efficiently. It decreases the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood and increases the response of insulin in your body. The result is that you need less insulin to transport the glucose from your blood into your cells.
Metformin is usually taken as a single dose, two or three times per day. It can be bought over the counter in a low dose (500mg) but your doctor may prescribe a higher dose (up to 2.5 grams) if necessary.
Metformin is not only used in women with PCOS. It is also used in men and women who have problems with their blood sugar levels. It can also be used in people who are overweight to help them lose weight and decrease their risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Many people have concerns about taking Metformin especially when they have other health problems. However, there are several studies that show the benefits of this medication far outweigh any potential risk. As with all medications, you should always inform your physician of any other medications you are taking or any other medical conditions you may have before starting on a new medication.
It is important to remember that taking Metformin should not be thought of as a “cure” for PCOS. It is only one part of a treatment plan that may also include lifestyle and dietary changes.
Metformin is not a quick fix to weight loss and it will not work without lifestyle changes. It can be an important tool in helping you to manage your PCOS.
Metformin is available only by prescription.
Before taking Metformin you should tell your doctor if:
You are allergic to Metformin or any other medications
You have kidney disease
You have liver disease
You are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
You are breastfeeding. It is not recommended that you take Metformin if you are breastfeeding.
You are taking, have recently taken or plan to take any other medications (including OTC and herbal products).
Metformin may cause side effects such as:
Stomach pain or discomfort
Metallic taste in your mouth
Other side effects include headache, bloating, diminished alcohol tolerance, increased bleeding and kidney problems in some people. If you experience any of these symptoms you should contact your doctor immediately.
Metformin is not suitable for everyone and you may be advised against taking it. Some medications should not be taken with Metformin. If you are not sure if you can take this medication please talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Metformin should not be used in children or teenagers as it may cause a rare but serious condition called lactic acidosis.
Metformin is not suitable for people with severe kidney or liver disease. If you have any kind of medical conditions, it is important to tell your doctor before starting this drug.
Metformin should be taken with water, after meals (especially in people with stomach problems).
Sources & references used in this article:
Is there an independent effect of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and menopause on the prevalence of subclinical atherosclerosis in middle aged women? by EO Talbott, J Zborowski, J Rager… – Vascular health and risk …, 2008 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Lifecycle of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): from in utero to menopause by CK Welt, E Carmina – The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & …, 2013 – academic.oup.com
Cardiovascular risk in postmenopausal women with the polycystic ovary syndrome by I Lambrinoudaki – Maturitas, 2011 – Elsevier
The effect of leuprolide acetate on ovulation induction with human menopausal gonadotropins in polycystic ovary syndrome by WC Dodson, CL Hughes… – The Journal of …, 1987 – academic.oup.com
Adrenal androgen production capacity remains high up to menopause in women with polycystic ovary syndrome by J Puurunen, T Piltonen, P Jaakkola… – The Journal of …, 2009 – academic.oup.com
Hyperandrogenism in women with polycystic ovary syndrome persists after menopause by MC Markopoulos, D Rizos, G Valsamakis… – The Journal of …, 2011 – academic.oup.com