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Open Access J Contracept. 2017 Feb 2;8:13-23. doi: 10.2147/OAJC.S85543. eCollection 2017.

Hormonal contraception in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: choices, challenges, and noncontraceptive benefits.

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1
Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Ribeirão Preto School of Medicine, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil.

Abstract

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder among women of reproductive age characterized by chronic anovulation and polycystic ovary morphology and/or hyperandrogenism. Management of clinical manifestations of PCOS, such as menstrual irregularities and hyperandrogenism symptoms, includes lifestyle changes and combined hormonal contraceptives (CHCs). CHCs contain estrogen that exerts antiandrogenic properties by triggering the hepatic synthesis of sex hormone-binding globulin that reduces the free testosterone levels. Moreover, the progestogen present in CHCs and in progestogen-only contraceptives suppresses luteinizing hormone secretion. In addition, some types of progestogens directly antagonize the effects of androgens on their receptor and also reduce the activity of the 5α reductase enzyme. However, PCOS is related to clinical and metabolic comorbidities that may limit the prescription of CHCs. Clinicians should be aware of risk factors, such as age, smoking, obesity, diabetes, systemic arterial hypertension, dyslipidemia, and a personal or family history, of a venous thromboembolic event or thrombophilia. This article reports a narrative review of the available evidence of the safety of hormonal contraceptives in women with PCOS. Considerations are made for the possible impact of hormonal contraceptives on endocrine, metabolic, and cardiovascular health.

KEYWORDS:

carbohydrate metabolism; hormonal contraceptive; hyperandrogenism; lipid metabolism; polycystic ovary syndrome; thrombosis

Conflict of interest statement

Disclosure The authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.

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