Skip to main content
padlock icon - secure page this page is secure

Impact of Oral Contraceptives on Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin and Androgen Levels: A Retrospective Study in Women with Sexual Dysfunction

Buy Article:

$52.00 + tax (Refund Policy)

ABSTRACT Introduction. 

Oral contraceptives (OCs) have been the preferred method of birth control because of their high rate of effectiveness. OC use, however, has been associated with women's sexual health complaints and androgen insufficiency. OC use is associated with a decrease of androgen ovarian synthesis and an increase in the production of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). There have been limited studies assessing SHBG values after discontinuation of OC use. Aim. 

To retrospectively investigate SHBG levels before and after discontinuation of OC use. Main Outcome Measure. 

Sex hormone-binding globulin values were compared at baseline, while on the OC, and well beyond the 7-day half-life of SHBG at 49–120 (mean 80) days and >120 (mean 196) days after discontinuation of OCs. Methods. 

A total of 124 premenopausal women with sexual health complaints for >6 months met inclusion/exclusion criteria. Three groups of women were defined: (i) “Continued-Users” (N = 62; mean age 32 years) had been on OCs for >6 months and continued taking them; (ii) “Discontinued-Users” (N = 39; mean age 33 years) had been on OCs for >6 months and discontinued them; and (iii) “Never-Users” (N = 23; mean age 36 years) had never taken OCs. Results. 

Sex hormone-binding globulin values in the “Continued-Users” were four times higher than those in the “Never-User” group (mean 157 ± 13 nmol/L vs. 41 ± 4 nmol/L; P < 0.0001). Despite a decrease in SHBG values after discontinuation of OC use, SHBG levels in “Discontinued-Users” remained elevated in comparison with “Never-Users” (N = 26; P < 0.0001 for >120 days). Conclusion. 

In women with sexual dysfunction, SHBG changes in “Discontinued-Users” did not decrease to values consistent with “Never-Users.” Long-term sexual, metabolic, and mental health consequences might result as a consequence of chronic SHBG elevation. Does prolonged exposure to the synthetic estrogens of OCs induce gene imprinting and increased gene expression of SHBG in the liver in some women? Prospective research is needed. Panzer C, Wise S, Fantini G, Kang D, Munarriz R, Guay A, and Goldstein I. Impact of oral contraceptives on sex hormone-binding globulin and androgen levels: a retrospective study in women with sexual dysfunction. J Sex Med 2006;3:104–113.
No References
No Citations
No Supplementary Data
No Article Media
No Metrics

Keywords: Female Sexual Dysfunction; Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin; Sex Steroid Hormones; Testosterone

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Urology, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA; 2: Center for Sexual Function, Lahey Clinic, Peabody, MA, USA; 3: Editor-in-Chief, The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Milton, MA, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2006

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more