Menopause is caused by a gradual fall in a woman’s hormone levels, while hormonal imbalance causes polycystic ovary syndrome. But can the reduction in sex hormones that bring on menopause cure the imbalance that causes polycystic ovary syndrome?
Menopause is when a woman’s periods stop completely, after a gradual reduction in sex hormone levels. As both PCOS and menopause relate to changes in sex hormones, people may wonder how they are connected or if one cures the other.
A woman is considered to have gone through menopause when she has not had a period for 12 months. The average age this happens is at 51 years. Women with PCOS tend to go through menopause an average of 2 years later than women without the condition. Menopause does not cure PCOS. When women go through menopause, they may still experience symptoms of PCOS, as well as symptoms of menopause.
Role of hormones in PCOS and menopause
The different roles that hormones play in causing menopause and PCOS are explored below.
Hormones in PCOS
The symptoms that women with PCOS experience are the result of an imbalance in sex hormones. However, the cause of this imbalance is not well understood. Women with PCOS produce a higher level of the male sex hormone testosterone than most women do. They may also have a lower level of the female sex hormone progesterone. Increased levels of testosterone cause symptoms, which are explored in the section below. The increase also affects the way another hormone called insulin works. Insulin helps to control blood sugar levels.
An increased level of testosterone in women can make their bodies more resistant to insulin. This means that insulin is no longer able to control blood sugar levels effectively, which leads to high blood sugar levels, and an increased risk of diabetes.
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