Normo- and hyperandrogenic women with polycystic ovary syndrome exhibit an adverse metabolic profile through life

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome present a worse metabolic profile compared with control women from early adulthood to menopause. When evaluating metabolic risks, age, androgenic status, and obesity should be taken into account.

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Volume 107, Issue 3, Pages 788–795


Pekka Pinola, Ph.D., Katri Puukka, Ph.D., Terhi T. Piltonen, Ph.D., Johanna Puurunen, Ph.D., Eszter Vanky, Ph.D., Inger Sundström-Poromaa, Ph.D., Elisabet Stener-Victorin, Ph.D., Angelica Lindén Hirschberg, Ph.D., Pernille Ravn, Ph.D., Marianne Skovsager Andersen, Ph.D., Dorte Glintborg, Ph.D., Jan Roar Mellembakken, Ph.D., Aimo Ruokonen, Ph.D., Juha S. Tapanainen, Ph.D., Laure C. Morin-Papunen, Ph.D.



To compare the metabolic profiles of normo- and hyperandrogenic women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) with those of control women at different ages during reproductive life.


Case-control study.


Not applicable.


In all, 1,550 women with normoandrogenic (n = 686) or hyperandrogenic (n = 842) PCOS and 447 control women were divided into three age groups: <30, 30–39, and >39 years).



Main Outcome Measure(s)

Body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, blood pressure, glucose, insulin, cholesterol, lipoproteins, triglycerides and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein.


Both normo- and hyperandrogenic women with PCOS were more obese, especially abdominally. They had increased serum levels of insulin (fasting and in oral glucose tolerance tests), triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein, and total cholesterol, higher blood pressure, and lower high-density lipoprotein levels independently from BMI compared with the control population as early as from young adulthood until menopause. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was two- to fivefold higher in women with PCOS compared with control women, depending on age and phenotype, and the highest prevalence was observed in hyperandrogenic women with PCOS at late reproductive age.


When evaluating metabolic risks in women with PCOS, androgenic status, especially abdominal obesity and age, should be taken into account, which would allow tailored management of the syndrome from early adulthood on.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.