Importance of Female Hormone Panel

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Importance of Female Hormone Panel

Key Takeaways

  • The journal of Reports of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology highlights the strong positive correlation between variances in the levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) and estradiol (a form of estrogen) and the presence of PCOS, as well as smaller but still statistically significant differences in the levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and progesterone in women with the suboptimal clinical condition.
  • Consistent with the preceding research study, the Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences reports that LH, FSH and progesterone levels are all relevant indicators of PCOS, adding that testosterone levels are particularly elevated within the population in question.
  • The journal of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences is among the more limited clinical reporting that confirms, rather than refutes, a positive correlation between variances in hormone levels and the diagnosis of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). This research study found significant variances in the levels of hormones (progesterone/estrogen) among women with PMDD as well as a greater sensitivity to these hormonal fluctuations among those with the clinical condition.
  • The journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America reports deviations in testosterone, progesterone and LH within the context of menopause, but focuses more specifically on the positive association between changes in FSH/estrogen and the clinical condition.
  • The journal of Minerva Obstetrics and Gynecology similarly emphasizes the positive correlation between changes in FSH and estradiol (estrogen) and the condition of menopause, in this case segmented into early menopause transition, late menopause transition and postmenopause.

Introduction

The research team has curated a set of five research studies that demonstrate the correlation between key elements of the female hormone panel [estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)] and suboptimal clinical conditions [polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), menopause]. In selecting these research reports, special attention was given to providing evidence of the association between a variety of the hormones of interest and multiple suboptimal clinical conditions. Additionally, direct excerpts and/or data tables were included for each of the reports to provide immediate access to the content of interest and avoid potential misrepresentation.

As noted in the first phase of this research, more dated clinical reports were included in this analysis to deliver this desired breadth and quantity of evidence. The full findings of this research have been presented directly below, organized by clinical condition for ease of review.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

#1: Reports of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

  • This past October 2020, the journal of Reports of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology published a research study that looked to determine the correlations of "hormones, lipid profiles, oxidative stress and zinc concentration" among women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
  • In comparing the hormone levels of women with PCOS to a control group of women within the same age bracket, the research team determined that there was a strong positive correlation between variances in the levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) and estradiol (a form of estrogen) and the presence of PCOS.
  • Additionally, researchers determined a smaller but still statistically significant difference in the levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and progesterone in women with the suboptimal clinical condition.
  • As stated within the report: "There were highly significant differences in serum LH...and estradiol levels in controls in both age groups compared to the same age group of the PCOS patients. On the other hand, there was also a slightly significant difference in serum FSH and progesterone levels in patients in both age groups compared to the corresponding age group in the controls."
  • In particular, the report found that "LH showed a five- fold change over FSH in PCOS patients compared to healthy control values."
  • A link to the full research study is available here, while data from the study which substantiates the above findings has been presented directly below for review, as desired.

#2: Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences

  • Approximately one year earlier, in October 2019, the Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences released a clinical review of the correlation between endocrine (hormone) parameters and PCOS through the observational assessment of a cohort of infertile women with PCOS.
  • Consistent with the preceding research study, the researchers determined that LH, FSH and progesterone levels were all relevant indicators of PCOS given their variance from standard levels among the women with PCOS.
  • As stated by the researchers: "Serum FSH & LH ratio is reversed with LH level almost three times more than the FSH level. Serum progesterone level is well below the normal ovulation range indicating anovulation."
  • Additionally, the study found that testosterone levels were particularly elevated within the population in question, or that "testosterone levels are found to be higher than the standard cut off values."
  • While a direct link to the research study is available here, statistical evidence from the study of these hormonal variances has been presented directly below for review as desired.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

#3: Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences

  • More dated (April 2014) research shared within the journal of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences is among the more limited clinical reporting that confirms, rather than refutes, a positive correlation between variances in hormone levels and the diagnosis of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
  • As with the first research study presented in this brief, researchers compared the hormone levels of college-aged women with a PMDD diagnosis against volunteers in a control group to determine the potential association of estrogen and progesterone with PMDD symptoms.
  • In support of this proposed analysis, the research team first noted that previous observational studies "indirectly suggest[ed] that gonadotrophic hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, may play a role in the symptom formation of PMDD. However, the effect of estrogen or progesterone on PMDD symptoms has not been proven."
  • However, this research study found significant variances in the levels of hormones (progesterone/estrogen) among women with PMDD as well as a greater sensitivity to these hormonal fluctuations among those with the clinical condition.
  • In particular, researchers found that "progesterone level and its change across the menstrual cycle negatively contributed to the fun-seeking behaviors of women with PMDD, but not to that of controls. It supports the reward sensitivity of women with PMDD being more vulnerable to progesterone effect than controls."
  • A link to the full research study is available here, while data to substantiate hormonal variances among women with PMDD is available for reference at the very bottom of the table presented below.

Menopause

#4: Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America

  • The journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America is among the more recent (September 2012) to publish detailed research on the association between "reproductive hormones and the menopause transition," likely because this subject has been under clinical review for decades.
  • In contrast to the preceding studies, the report presents a literature review which discusses the positive correlation between variances in the hormones of interest and the condition of menopause.
  • While deviations in testosterone, progesterone and LH are all highlighted within the context of menopause, the researchers focused more specifically on the associations between FSH/estrogen and the clinical condition.
  • In particular, the report highlights the strong correlation between changes in FSH and the onset of menopause, stating that "a monotropic rise in FSH is considered the endocrinological hallmark of the MT [menopause transition]...FSH rises are more sustained over time in the late MT and the rise is most precipitous in the years bracketing the FMP [final menstrual period]."
  • Ultimately, the researchers note that changes in both FSH and estrogen throughout the menopause transition are "candidate markers" of the biological changes associated with the clinical condition.
  • Meanwhile, a link to the full research report is available here.

#5: Minerva Obstetrics and Gynecology

  • Finally, the journal of Minerva Obstetrics and Gynecology released a clinical report in December 2009 that similarly looked at "hormone changes associated with the menopausal transition."
  • As with the preceding study, the authors emphasized the positive correlation between changes in FSH and estradiol (estrogen) and the condition of menopause, in this case segmented into early menopause transition, late menopause transition and postmenopause.
  • Specifically, researchers note that "current data shows an increase in FSH and decreases...estradiol over MT," adding that variances in FSH appear as a marker of menopause in advance of fluctuations estrogen.
  • A depiction of the association between these hormones and menopause is presented directly below, while the full report is available at this link here.

Research Strategy

For this research on the correlation between key elements of the female hormone panel and suboptimal clinical conditions, the research team leveraged the most reputable sources available in the public domain, including the journals of Reports of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America.

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