Reproductive aging and its consequences for general health

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2010 Aug;1204:179-87. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2010.05521.x.


Reproductive aging coincides with endocrine changes that are not solely reproductive in nature and culminates in hypergonadotropic hypogonadism and amenorrhea. These changes are identifiable biochemically regardless of clinical manifestations. Changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis are associated with changes in other hormonal axes, specifically the adrenal androgen and the somatotropic axis. A large body of literature indicates that reproductive aging is associated with a decline in the somatotropic axis. The interactions between reproductive aging and changes in the adrenal androgen axis are more complex and complicated by age-related declines in the adrenal axis early in the reproductive years. These changes may play an important role in overall health maintenance. Attempts to ameliorate hormonal declines with exogenous hormonal therapy have produced mixed results. Finally, the age-specific timing as well as the rapidity of the changes that occur with reproductive aging seems to have important consequences on metabolism, cardiovascular risk, cognition, bone density, and even mortality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Neurosecretory Systems / metabolism
  • Neurosecretory Systems / physiology
  • Reproduction / physiology*
  • Women's Health


  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I