Reproductive hormone levels in gynecologic oncology patients undergoing surgical castration after spontaneous menopause.
The endocrine function of the ovary after menopause is perhaps less well understood than at any other time in the female life cycle. To evaluate the hormonal function of the ovary further at this stage of life, reproductive hormone levels were measured in 11 postmenopausal women admitted to the gynecologic oncology service for pelvic surgery which would involve bilateral oophorectomy. Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels, along with estradiol, testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S), and androstenedione levels, were measured preoperatively, on Postoperative Days 1 and 4, and at 6 weeks following surgery. Testosterone and androstenedione levels fell by half in these patients, whereas estradiol levels were unaffected. LH and FSH showed a fall in the immediate postoperative period, with a subsequent return to baseline levels by 6 weeks after surgery. DHEA-S levels were unaffected by surgery. There are no discernible differences in subjective menopausal symptoms postoperatively in postmenopausal women undergoing bilateral oophorectomy compared to their preoperative state. The data show that the long-held but inadequately proven thesis that postmenopausal oophorectomy dramatically reduces androgen levels is in fact true. This is further evidence that the postmenopausal ovary is an important source of potent and potentially aromatizable androgens.
Hughes, CL; Wall, LL; Creasman, WT
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