Women with polycystic ovary syndrome have higher BPA blood levels

Jun 21, 2010

Women with the polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the most common hormone imbalance in women of reproductive age, may be more vulnerable to exposure to the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), found in many plastic household items, according to a new study. The results will be presented Sunday at The Endocrine Society's 92nd Annual Meeting in San Diego.

The study found that BPA, a known hormone disrupter, is elevated and associated with higher levels of in the blood of women with PCOS compared with healthy women. These findings held true for both lean and obese women with PCOS, said Evanthia Diamanti-Kandarakis, MD, PhD, study co-author and professor at the University of Athens Medical School in Greece.

"Women with the polycystic ovary syndrome should be alert regarding this environmental contaminant's potential adverse effects on reproductive aspects of their health problem," she said.

Excessive secretion of androgens—masculinization-promoting hormones—occurs in PCOS. The syndrome raises the risk of infertility, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Past studies show that BPA is elevated in women who have had recurrent miscarriages. This chemical can leach into the bloodstream from food and beverage containers that are made of polycarbonate hard plastic or lined with epoxy resins, or from some dental sealants and composites.

In the new study, the researchers divided 71 women with PCOS and 100 healthy female control subjects into subgroups matched by age and (obese or lean). Blood levels of BPA, compared with those of controls, were nearly 60 percent higher in lean women with PCOS and more than 30 percent higher in obese women with the syndrome.

Additionally, as the BPA blood level increased, so did the concentrations of the male sex and androstenedione, a steroid hormone that converts to testosterone, Diamanti-Kandarakis reported.

Although BPA is a weak estrogen, excessive secretion of androgens, as seen in PCOS, interfere with BPA detoxification by the liver, leading to accumulation of blood levels of BPA, Diamanti-Kandarakis explained.

"BPA also affects androgen metabolism, creating a vicious circle between androgens and BPA," she said.

Diamanti-Kandarakis said women with PCOS may want to limit their exposure to BPA.

"However," she said, "no one has proved that by reducing BPA levels in PCOS, it will have beneficial effects."

Explore further: Second bird flu case confirmed in Canada

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Women with hormonal disorder at risk of heart disease

Apr 12, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- University of Adelaide researchers have found evidence of a link between a common hormonal disorder in women and heart disease - and they're seeking more women to take part in a new study ...

Consider Metabolic Complications With PCOS

Feb 19, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common endocrine disorders in women of child-bearing age and is often discovered when women seek medical attention for reproductive difficulties or infertility. ...

Recommended for you

Second bird flu case confirmed in Canada

4 hours ago

The husband of a Canadian who was diagnosed earlier this week with bird flu after returning from a trip to China has also tested positive for the virus, health officials said Friday.

What exactly is coronavirus?

10 hours ago

The conflicts in Syria and Iraq are straining public health systems and public health efforts meant to prevent and detect the spread of infectious diseases. This is generating a "perfect storm" of conditions for outbreaks. Among the infections raising concern is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, caused by a type of coronavirus, which emerged in 2012. ...

Scientists find Ebola virus is mutating

11 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—Researchers working at Institut Pasteur in France have found that the Ebola virus is mutating "a lot" causing concern in the African countries where the virus has killed over eight thous ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.