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Fertil Steril. 1997 Jun;67(6):1024-30.

Women with functional hypothalamic amenorrhea but not other forms of anovulation display amplified cortisol concentrations.

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1
Magee-Womens Research Institute, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To test the hypothesis that increased cortisol secretion is specific to women with decreased GnRH drive and not found in eumenorrheic women or those with other causes of anovulation.

DESIGN:

Cortisol concentrations in blood were determined at 30-minute intervals for 24 hours in three well-characterized groups: women with functional hypothalamic amenorrhea, those with other causes of anovulation, and eumenorrheic women.

SETTING:

Academic medical center.

PATIENT(S):

Women aged 20 through 35 years, with well-defined reproductive states.

INTERVENTION(S):

Venous blood samples were obtained from, and psychometric inventories were completed by, the participants.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):

Twenty-four-hour cortisol levels, 24-hour LH pulse patterns, and serial P levels were measured in women with functional hypothalamic amenorrhea, eumenorrheic women, and those with other causes of anovulation.

RESULT(S):

Cortisol secretion was higher in women with functional hypothalamic amenorrhea (n = 19) than in those with other causes of anovulation (n = 19) or eumenorrheic women (n = 19). Six women who recovered from functional hypothalamic amenorrhea had cortisol levels comparable to those of eumenorrheic women and those with other causes of anovulation.

CONCLUSION(S):

These data underscore the association between increased hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal activity and reduced GnRH drive and support the concept that functional hypothalamic amenorrhea develops in response to stress-induced alterations in central neural function that modify hypothalamic function.

PMID:
9176439
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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