Newswise — Hormonal changes induced by oral contraceptives (OC) are not immediately reversible after discontinuation of use, according to new research issued today at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) Fourteenth Annual Meeting and Clinical Congress.

Despite the benefits of OC, their use has been associated with sexual dysfunction and androgen insufficiency. OC are known to decrease serum testosterone levels by decreasing ovarian production of testosterone and by increasing production of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) from the liver. It has been assumed that these changes are reversible after discontinuation of OC use.

In the study of 102 pre-menopausal women with female sexual dysfunction, SHBG values in the OC group were seven times higher than those in the never-user group. OC lowers the free androgen index, in part, by substantially increasing SHBG levels. Despite a decrease in SHBG values after discontinuation of OC use, SHBG levels remained continuously elevated for up to one year in comparison with those in the control group. The free androgen index may remain low for a prolonged period.

The AACE Fourteenth Annual Meeting and Clinical Congress will be held May 18 through May 22, at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC.

Editor's Note: Registration is required for all media. To arrange an interview or for more information, contact Sissy Horn or Sarah Bradley as listed above (Abstract #728).

AACE is a professional medical organization with more than 5,200 members in the United States and 84 other countries. Founded in 1991, AACE is dedicated to the optimal care of patients with endocrine problems. AACE initiatives inform the public about endocrine disorders. AACE also conducts continuing education programs for clinical endocrinologists, physicians whose advanced, specialized training enables them to be experts in the care of endocrine disease, such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, growth hormone deficiency, osteoporosis, cholesterol disorders, hypertension and obesity.

For further information about AACE and the Annual Meeting, visit the AACE web site at

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American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists Annual Meeting