Postmenopausal hyperthecosis: Functional dysregulation of androgenesis in climacteric ovary

Magee-Womens Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Obstetrics and Gynecology (Impact Factor: 4.37). 06/2002; 99(5 Pt 2):893-7. DOI: 10.1016/S0029-7844(01)01588-5
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Hyperandrogenism of ovarian origin is rare in postmenopausal women. However, there is evidence that the ovaries of postmenopausal women are active endocrine glands, secreting mainly androgens.
A postmenopausal woman sought treatment for progressive hirsutism. Endocrine evaluation revealed androgen excess. Transvaginal ultrasound revealed enlarged ovaries. Hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy were recommended. However, surgery had to be withheld for 6 months while the patient recovered from an acute myocardial infarction. In the interim, the patient's hyperandrogenemia was successfully treated with monthly injections of the gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (GnRH), leuprolide acetate.
This report illustrates the potential for postmenopausal ovaries to become active androgen-secreting endocrine organs. It also demonstrates the efficacy of pharmacologic intervention for postmenopausal ovarian hyperthecosis when the patient is a poor surgical candidate.

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