Evaluation of androgenicity, abdominal adiposity, blood pressure and types of ovulatory patterns in a sample of women with menstrual irregularities

Carma Ayala, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Objective: To determine the prevalence of and the relationships between the degree and source of hyperandrogenemia, ovulatory patterns and cardiovascular disease risk indicators (blood pressure, indices or amount of obesity and fat distribution) in women with menstrual irregularities seen at endocrinologists' clinic. Design: A cross-sectional study design. Participants: A sample of 159 women with menstrual irregularities, aged 15-44, seen at endocrinologists' clinic. Main Outcome Measures: androgen levels, body mass index (BMI), waist-hip ratio (WHR), systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP & DBP), source of androgens, ovulatory activity. Results: The prevalence of hyperandrogenemia was 54.7% in this study sample. As expected, women with acne or hirsutism had an odds ratio 12.5 (95%CI = 5.2-25.5) times and 36 (95%CI = 12.9-99.5) times more likely to have hyperandrogenemia than those without acne or hirsutism. The main findings of this study were the following: Hyperandrogenemic women were more likely to have oligomenorrheic cycles (OR = 3.8, 95%CI = 1.5-9.9), anovulatory cycles (OR = 6.6, 95%CI = 2.8-15.4), general obesity (BMI $\ge$ 27) (OR = 6.8, 95%CI = 2.2-27.2) and central obesity (WHR $\ge$ 127) (OR = 14.5, 95%CI = 6.1-38.7) than euandrogenemic women. Hyperandrogenemic women with non-suppressible androgens had a higher mean BMI (29.3 $\pm$ 8.9) than those with suppressible androgens (27.9 $\pm$ 7.9); the converse was true for abdominal adiposity (WHR). Hyperandrogenemic women had a 2.4 odds ratio (95%CI = 1.0-6.2) for an elevated SBP and a 2.7 odds ratio (95%CI = 0.8-8.8) for elevated DBP. When age differences were accounted for, this relationship was strengthened and further strengthened when sources of androgens were controlled. When the differences in BMI were controlled, the odds ratio for elevated SBP in hyperandrogenemic women increased to 8.8 (95%CI = 1.1-69.9). When the age, the source of androgens, the amount of obesity and the type of obesity were controlled, hyperandrogenemic women had 13.5 (95%CI = 1.1-158.9) odds ratio for elevated SBP. Conclusions: In this study population, the presence of menstrual irregularities are highly predictive for the presence of elevated androgens. Women with elevated androgens have a high risk for obesity, more specifically for central obesity. The androgenemic status is an independent predictor of blood pressure elevation. It is probable that in the general population, the presence of menstrual irregularities are predictive of hyperandrogenemia. There is a great need for a population study of the prevalence of hyperandrogenemia and for longitudinal studies in hyperandrogenemic women (adrenarche to menopause) to investigate the evolution of these relationships.

Subject Area

Public health|Obstetrics|Gynecology|Surgery

Recommended Citation

Ayala, Carma, "Evaluation of androgenicity, abdominal adiposity, blood pressure and types of ovulatory patterns in a sample of women with menstrual irregularities" (1997). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9831526.