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Individuals with PCOS are 3x more likely to report poor or very poor health in their mid-40s.[1] In this article, we explore the link between PCOS and health and wellbeing during perimenopause, the time of transition between the reproductive years and menopause.[2]


PCOS is associated with elevated levels of androgens[3], sex hormones that are produced in the ovaries, start at puberty and play a key role in reproductive health.[4]  Find out more about PCOS and Androgen Excess.


These elevated androgens result in an array of potential symptoms and health complications in individuals with PCOS, including but not limited to:

  • Changes in appearance;

  • Menstrual symptoms;

  • Reproductive health complications;

  • Mental health complications;

  • Sexual health complications;

  • Metabolic health complications; and

  • Increased risk for certain types of cancer.


During perimenopause, individuals start producing lower levels of estrogen and progesterone,[5] chemical messengers or hormones responsible for regulating important processes across the reproductive, skeletal, cardiovascular and central nervous systems.[6] 


As a result of these hormonal changes, perimenopause shares a number of common symptoms with PCOS:[7]

  • Acne and skin problems;

  • Irregular or missed periods;

  • Headaches;

  • Infertility;

  • Mood changes;

  • Sleep difficulties;

  • Thinning hair on the head;

  • Unwanted hair growth; and

  • Weight gain.


The onset of perimenopause can therefore compound pre-existing health concerns of individuals with PCOS, although some report that the burden of the condition is reduced.[8]


As a result of these shared symptoms, PCOS can be very difficult to diagnose during perimenopause. 


Reviewed by Dr. K, one of Neuraura’s friends and trusted advisors.


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Sources
[1] https://obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/aogs.14382
[2] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/perimenopause/symptoms-causes/syc-20354666
[3] https://www.uptodate.com/contents/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos-beyond-the-basics/
[4] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22002-androgens
[5] https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/pcos-and-menopause#hormones
[6] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/22353-estrogen
[7] https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/pcos-and-menopause#symptoms
[8] https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/pcos-and-menopause#symptoms

Want to learn more about how PCOS across life stages?  Check out the sections on starting your period and menopause.

Life stage

PCOS and Perimenopause

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