On one side, put all the troubles of mankind, and on another, put the mental and physical problems of women going through menopause. You'll never be able to balance it. When menopause occurs, the feminine personality urges many things and despises a lot of occurrences. Many women have felt their world crumble for at least 2-3 years as they move into their forties and begin feeling the first signs of menopause.
Even though menopause happens around 45-55, not all women have an easygoing menopause. For most, the menopausal effects start to show earlier in their forties when they begin getting periods unusually late. This stage is called the transitional age, where the uterus and hormones are preparing to shut down the menstrual cycle altogether. For some women, menopause is the last fight before they get rid of the monthly painful periods. Whereas for some, menopause is the horrible feeling of dying youth and not being able to have the same kind of affectionate intimacy with their partners.
Unfortunately, some women cannot experience either the good or the wrong side because of regular period cycles well into their mid-forties. This generally happens to women who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). PCOS and menopause have their roots in hormonal changes which is why PCOS tends to affect menopause. Here's what you need to know about managing menopause when you have PCOS-
What is the role of hormones in PCOS?
In both PCOS and menopause, the primary influence is on changing the sex hormones in the body. While PCOS causes the male hormone testosterone to increase, menopause mostly causes the fluctuation of estrogen levels.
It isn't just reproduction that is hampered due to the hormonal changes caused by PCOS and menopause. Physical and psychological changes are also a part of changes in the hormones. Take the declining rates of estrogen, for example; it affects women's bone density. A common phenomenon in women crossing their mid-forties bone degeneration happens because estrogen is the hormone that works with the calcium in your blood to create more bone tissue. A decline in estrogen levels can, thus, cause osteoporosis which results in more loss of bone mass than is being made.
PCOS mostly causes an increase in the amount of testosterone created by the body, making it difficult for women to have a regular ovulation cycle. Due to the excessive amount of male hormone being produced by the body, women tend to get frequent and evident facial or body hair, male pattern hair loss, acne issues, and irregular periods which are often painful. Women with PCOS can also experience sudden weight gain and insulin resistance, resulting in diabetes. Whereas menopausal women may have physical issues like hot flashes, joint pains, mood swings, and vaginal dryness. However, sometimes women mistake the symptoms of PCOS for perimenopause which is the earlier stage of menopause.
How PCOS and perimenopause are different
Specific symptoms might be slightly similar in PCOS and menopause, but during your transition towards menopause, PCOS might not let you know. To understand when to be wary of PCOS affecting your menopause, let's know the stages of menopause-
- Perimenopause - This stage is technically called menopause transition. It begins 8-10 years before the actual menopause happens. The period cycle is still regular in this stage, and you can still get pregnant. However, menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, sleeplessness, and vaginal dryness might occur.
- Menopause - Natural menopause is when you've not called your periods for 12 consecutive cycles or months. This means that the natural ovarian function has ceased.
- Postmenopause - This stage continues over a few years after menopause. For most women, it ends within the first three years. With PCOS, however, you may experience mood swings and high testosterone levels. Whereas for women without PCOS, lowering estrogen causes a risk of osteoporosis, kidney and bladder changes, and heart disease.
Will menopause cause PCOS to reduce?
Many might think that the natural shutting down of the ovaries and uterus may stop the effects of PCOS but not much changes even if you're at menopause and have PCOS simultaneously. Here's what happens-
Menopause doesn't end with PCOS.
Menopause has got nothing to make PCOS disappear. It is a misconception, and female biology is more complex than that. With age, the amount of androgens or testosterone in the body might decrease, but the effects of PCOS won't disappear completely.
If you're keeping up a healthy lifestyle with essential exercises and diet, it is possible to reduce the number of testosterone by 50% after menopause. However, the level reduces very slowly in women suffering from PCOS. Hence, there is a definite possibility of dealing with the visible effects of PCOS, like male pattern baldness or facial hair, for example.
Menopause may be late if you have PCOS.
If you suffer from PCOS, menopause may occur later than the regular age. It is seen that women with PCOS get menopause at least 2-3 years later in life. Another possibility is that the frequency of your periods might increase as the reproductive decline approaches the time of menopause.
An increase in androgen may persist in post-menopause.
Androgens (male sex hormones) are known to increase dramatically in women in the postmenopausal stage. While androgen levels are known to be stable or increase without side effects, it harms women suffering from PCOS. With the increase in androgens, health risks associated with PCOS, like insulin resistance, chronic inflammation (body pain), dyslipidemia, and obesity, are bound to increase in intensity.
PCOS is a painful disbalance of bodily fluids that causes the reproductive system to malfunction and create issues that healthy women shouldn't generally suffer. It is a disorder that doesn't stop after menopause. However, you can take steps earlier to ensure a healthy, pain-free menopause that begins and ends early. Try herbal supplements that regulate hormonal disbalances and strengthen the ovaries for fertility. Namyaa PCOD and PCOS Ayurvedic Kit have the power of herbs that help relieve the symptoms and reduce the effects of PCOS. So you can have regular period cycles and a healthy feminine life.