Objective: Polycystic ovaries have been diagnosed in more than 20% of premenopausal women using ultrasound. The aim of this study was to determine whether polycystic ovaries exist in post-menopausal women.
Design: Two groups of women were studied; group 1 consisted of 18 post-menopausal volunteers and group 2 comprised 142 women, 94 of whom were post-menopausal who had recently undergone coronary angiography.
Measurements: Transabdominal and transvaginal ultrasound scans were performed and measurements made of uterine area, endometrial thickness and ovarian volume. The morphological appearance of the ovaries was also noted. Fasting blood samples were taken. Medical and menstrual questionnaires were completed.
Results: Polycystic ovaries were found in 8/18 (44%) of group 1 and 60/142 (42%) in group 2. Polycystic ovaries were detected in 35/94 (37%) of the post-menopausal women in group 2. Post-menopausal women with polycystic ovaries had larger ovaries containing more follicles compared with post-menopausal women with normal ovaries. Post-menopausal women with polycystic ovaries had higher serum concentrations of testosterone and triglycerides than had post-menopausal women with normal ovaries.
Conclusions: Polycystic ovaries can be detected in post-menopausal women and have some of the same endocrine abnormalities which are evident in premenopausal women with polycystic ovaries, that is, raised serum concentrations of testosterone and triglycerides.