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Open access

Cecilia Lundin, Agota Malmborg, Julia Slezak, Kristina Gemzell Danielsson, Marie Bixo, Hanna Bengtsdotter, Lena Marions, Ingela Lindh, Elvar Theodorsson, Mats Hammar, and Inger Sundström-Poromaa

Objective

The effect of combined oral contraceptives (COCs) on female sexuality has long been a matter of discussion, but placebo-controlled studies are lacking. Thus, the aim of the present study was to investigate if an oestradiol-containing COC influences sexual function.

Design

Investigator-initiated, randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial where 202 healthy women were randomised to a combined oral contraceptive (1.5 mg oestradiol and 2.5 mg nomegestrol acetate) or placebo for three treatment cycles.

Methods

Sexual function at baseline and during the last week of the final treatment cycle was evaluated by the McCoy Female Sexuality Questionnaire. Serum and hair testosterone levels were assessed at the same time points.

Results

Compared to placebo, COC use was associated with a small decrease in sexual interest (COC median change score: −2.0; interquartile range (IQR): −5.0 to 0.5 vs placebo: −1.0; IQR: −3.0 to 2.0, P = 0.019), which remained following adjustment for change in self-rated depressive symptoms (B = −0.80 ± 0.30, Wald = 7.08, P = 0.008). However, the proportion of women who reported a clinically relevant deterioration in sexual interest did not differ between COC or placebo users (COC 18 (22.2%) vs placebo 16 (17.8%), P = 0.47). Change in other measured aspects of sexual function as well as total score of sexual function did not differ between the two treatments.

Conclusions

This study suggests that use of oestradiol-based COCs is associated with reduced sexual interest. However, the changes are minute, and probably not of clinical relevance.

Open access

Shilpa Lingaiah, Laure Morin-Papunen, Terhi Piltonen, Inger Sundström-Poromaa, Elisabet Stener-Victorin, and Juha S Tapanainen

Objective

Serum levels of retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4), an adipokine thought to affect systemic insulin sensitivity, were compared between women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and non-PCOS controls to evaluate the association of RBP4 with clinical, hormonal and metabolic parameters of PCOS.

Subjects and methods

Serum RBP4 levels were analysed in 278 women with PCOS (age range 18–57 years) and 191 non-PCOS controls (age 20–53 years) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

Results

Serum levels of RBP4 were increased in women with PCOS compared with control women in the whole population (45.1 ± 24.0 (s.d.) vs 33.5 ± 18.3 mg/L, P < 0.001). Age-stratified analysis showed that serum RBP4 levels were increased in women with PCOS aged ≤30 years compared with controls (47.7 ± 23.5 vs 27.1 ± 10.4 mg/L, P < 0.001), whereas no significant differences were seen in the other age groups. No significant correlations of RBP4 were seen with either steroids or indices of insulin resistance.

Conclusions

Although serum RBP4 levels were increased in younger women with PCOS compared with age-matched non-PCOS controls, RBP4 does not seem to be a good marker of insulin resistance or other metabolic derangements in women with PCOS.

Open access

Jan Roar Mellembakken, Azita Mahmoudan, Lars Mørkrid, Inger Sundström-Poromaa, Laure Morin-Papunen, Juha S Tapanainen, Terhi T Piltonen, Angelica Lindén Hirschberg, Elisabet Stener-Victorin, Eszter Vanky, Pernille Ravn, Richard Christian Jensen, Marianne Skovsager Andersen, and Dorte Glintborg

Objective

Obesity is considered to be the strongest predictive factor for cardio-metabolic risk in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The aim of the study was to compare blood pressure (BP) in normal weight women with PCOS and controls matched for age and BMI.

Methods

From a Nordic cross-sectional base of 2615 individuals of Nordic ethnicity, we studied a sub cohort of 793 normal weight women with BMI < 25 kg/m2 (512 women with PCOS according to Rotterdam criteria and 281 age and BMI-matched controls). Participants underwent measurement of BP and body composition (BMI, waist-hip ratio), lipid status, and fasting BG. Data were presented as median (quartiles).

Results

The median age for women with PCOS were 28 (25, 32) years and median BMI was 22.2 (20.7, 23.4) kg/m2. Systolic BP was 118 (109, 128) mmHg in women with PCOS compared to 110 (105, 120) mmHg in controls and diastolic BP was 74 (67, 81) vs 70 (64, 75) mmHg, both P < 0.001. The prevalence of women with BP ≥ 140/90 mmHg was 11.1% (57/512) in women with PCOS vs 1.8% (5/281) in controls, P < 0.001. In women ≥ 35 years the prevalence of BP ≥ 140/90 mmHg was comparable in women with PCOS and controls (12.7% vs 9.8%, P = 0.6). Using multiple regression analyses, the strongest association with BP was found for age, waist circumference, and total cholesterol in women with PCOS.

Conclusions

Normal weight women with PCOS have higher BP than controls. BP and metabolic screening are relevant also in young normal weight women with PCOS.