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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Sep;95(9):4354-60. doi: 10.1210/jc.2010-0445. Epub 2010 Jul 7.

Sexuality and fertility in women with Addison's disease.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, Haukeland University Hospital, N-5021 Bergen, Norway. mmer@helse-bergen.no

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Females with primary adrenal insufficiency (Addison's disease) have reduced levels of circulating androgens, which are allegedly important for sexual functioning.

OBJECTIVE:

The aim was to determine peripheral androgen status, sexual functioning, and birth rates in Addison's disease females.

DESIGN:

In a postal survey, all 269 females in the Norwegian Addison's registry were invited to complete the Sexual Activity Questionnaire (SAQ) and registration of childbirths. Blood samples were analyzed for 5alpha-androstane-3alpha,17beta-diol-3-glucuronide (3alpha-Diol-G) and compared with blood donor levels. The SAQ scores were compared with 740 age-matched controls from the general population and 234 women subjected to risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy. Fertility was estimated as standardized incidence ratio for birth; the expected number of births was estimated from population statistics.

RESULTS:

The SAQ was completed by 174 (65%) of the Addison's patients. Those not taking DHEA had significantly lower 3alpha-Diol-G levels than blood donors (mean, 0.53 vs. 2.2 ng/ml; P < 0.0001), whereas those on DHEA treatment had elevated levels (mean, 5.8 vs. 2.2 ng/ml; P = 0.002). The Addison's disease females were equally sexually active as the controls, but they reported significantly higher pleasure and less discomfort. They reported lower pleasure but less discomfort than the risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy women. The fertility was significantly reduced in females with Addison's disease; 54 children were born to mothers with established diagnosis (87.5 expected), yielding a standardized incidence ratio for birth of 0.69 (confidence interval, 0.52-0.86).

CONCLUSION:

Despite androgen depletion, females with Addison's disease do not report impaired sexuality. The fertility is reduced after the diagnosis is made; the reasons for this remain unknown.

PMID:
20610594
DOI:
10.1210/jc.2010-0445
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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