Background: The clinical features and metabolic complications of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may change with age. This study was designed to investigate the clinical and biochemical characteristics of PCOS patients between the ages of 20 and 40.Methods: The study included 781 Taiwanese women, of whom 453 were diagnosed with PCOS and 328 were non-PCOS controls. Anthroponmetric components, androgens, endocrine, insulin resistance, and metabolic components were measured and correlated with age. Above parameters were compared between younger and elder women with PCOS.Results: Age had significant negative correlations with androgens (total testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate), the modified FerrimanGallwey score and the prevalence of acne and hirsutism. Age had significant positive correlations with fasting glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein. The 453 women who fulfilled diagnostic criteria for PCOS were classified by age into two groups: Group A (2029 years old, n 294) and Group B (3040 years old, n 159). Group A had significantly higher total testosterone levels than Group B. Group B had higher fasting insulin and glucose levels, triglycerides, body mass index and waist measurements and a higher incidence of obesity than Group A. The average ovarian volume was not significantly different among the two groups. Conclusions: Increased age is accompanied by a decrease in the prevalence of both clinical and biochemical hyperandrogenism in women. Hyperandrogenism is the important factor for young women with PCOS; however, abdominal obesity and certain metabolic disturbances became major concerns for older women with PCOS.
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