Send to

Choose Destination
Rev Fr Gynecol Obstet. 1994 May;89(5):245-54.

[Diagnostic strategy in infertility due to hyperandrogenism. Development of a decision tree].

[Article in French]

Author information

Service d'Endocrinologie, Diabétologie, Nutrition, Hôpital Notre-Dame de Bon Secours, Paris.


The detection of clinical hyperandrogenism in women presenting with infertility requires detailed hormonal investigations using the decisional plan suggested here. Initial studies including measurement of plasma androgen, gonadotrophic hormones and prolactin levels, may be sufficient to reveal an adrenal origin or pure ovarian origin. Non-tumor androgenic hypercorticism is seen classically in late-presenting enzyme deficits, but also in other situations: excessive adrenarche, hyperprolactinemia, obesity, chronic stress. The immediate Synacthene test can then eliminate diagnostic uncertainties if it leads to the discovery of appearances of 21- or 11-hydroxylase or 3 beta-ol dehydrogenase blocks. Intense virilisation in a woman with a testosterone level above 2 ng/ml (7 nM/l) should lead to suspicion of an androgen-secreting tumor of the ovary or adrenal. CT scan of the abdomen and true pelvis is essential here since it may reveal the presence of an adrenal or ovarian mass. If no morphological abnormality is shown by this investigation, an endocrine lesion of a small ovary should be strongly suspected, the demonstration of which requires isotope techniques and/or catheterisation of the ovarian veins. Two situations also exist which are responsible for severe hyperandrogenism but less alarming in terms of their course and significance: certain homozygous forms of 21-hydroxylase deficit diagnosed late and ovarian hyperthecosis. It may happen that these hormonal investigations do not suffice alone to determine the precise origin of hyperandrogenism and its cause. The dexamethasone adrenal suppression test is useful in the diagnosis of type II micropolycystic dystrophy, in order to define the essentially ovarian, adrenal or mixed origin of hyperandrogenism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center