Dr Jodie Avery was recently awarded an Australian Federation of University Women SA Inc. Trust Postdoctoral Grant for $5000 to undertake the following research, which follows on from her CRE in PCOS Career Development fellowship as well as her current Robinson Research Institute Career Development Fellowship. 

The true prevalence, and reproductive and metabolic outcomes of older women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is unknown. PCOS is not a stable condition over the life course, but a dynamic and follows different clinical and metabolic features. Women from the South Australian Lucina cohort (11.9% PCOS) were assessed 15 years ago when they were 30 years of age. These women will be aged 42-48 years in 2018. Endocrine and metabolic parameters worsen in women with PCOS as they age, increasing their risk for life-long health issues beyond menopause.

I aim to undertake semi structured interviews with approximately 20-30 women face to face to investigate the extent of health problems and psychosocial experience in the middle age, look at health profiles associated with the various phenotypes of PCOS, and perhaps questions about the offspring of these women. The original cohort for this study was approached prior to the technological revolution that has occurred over the last 15 years, less than 40% of households had access to the internet. We now have the opportunity to impart information to these women via a very accessible cost-effective means, such as through a website which we are creating.

Women who were born in 1973-1975 will be in their 40s now. Most will have completed childbearing but will still be menstruating. This is an ideal time to follow up and reengage this cohort preparing for future research. PCOS places a costly burden on the health care system and impacts on health and quality of life. However, perimenopause and menopause, have not often been considered in the management of PCOS, particularly in a longitudinal cohort, specifically the psychosocial factors. Later life PCOS has not been well researched: with no quality longitudinal natural history studies. This work is a priority of the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence (CRE) in PCOS.