Introduction: Several studies have investigated determinants for androgen levels in men, but few studies have included women. Epidemiological evidence has suggested that cigarette smoking has an anti-oestrogenic effect in women, but the effects of smoking on steroid hormone metabolism are not fully understood. We investigated whether there is a relationship between androgen levels and smoking in perimenopausal women.
Material and methods: We examined 75 perimenopausal women, 30 were smokers and 45 were non-smokers. All women were between the ages 40 and 55 and presented with a history of menstrual cycle irregularity of at least 6 months duration but not longer than 1 year of amenorrhea. We measured plasma testosterone (T), dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAs), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH) and estradiol (E2) levels in these perimenopausal women. Pearsons correlations were applied to evaluate the relationship between plasma hormone levels and smoking.
Results: The smokers had a higher level of testosterone and DHEAs than the non-smokers (P<0.01). Serum FSH, LH and E2 were similar in the two groups.
Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that perimenopausal women who smoke have a higher serum concentration of testosterone and DHEAs than non-smokers. These results confirm previous reports that cigarette smoking does not affect serum estradiol in perimenopausal women and also support previous findings of increased levels of some adrenal steroids in postmenopausal women smokers.
03 - 07 May 2008
European Society of Endocrinology