Send to

Choose Destination
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

Department of Medicine, Haukeland University Hospital, N-5021 Bergen, Norway.



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


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


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.


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).


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center