Chemical tied to hormonal syndrome

Reuters, Wednesday 12 Jan 2011

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome have increased blood levels of the widely used industrial chemical bisphenol A, a small study finds -- raising the question of whether the compound plays some role in the disorder

Among 71 women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), researchers found that on average, they had higher blood levels of bisphenol A, or BPA, compared with 100 healthy women the same age and weight.

The findings, reported in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, do not prove that BPA contributes to the ovary disorder.

But the researchers say that future studies should look into that possibility.

PCOS is a hormonal disorder thought to affect up to 10 percent of women of reproductive age. Women with the condition have abnormally high levels of testosterone, leading to problems like irregular periods, acne, excessive body hair and difficulty becoming pregnant.

The underlying cause is not completely clear. Researchers believe there is a genetic component: many women with PCOS have a mother or sister affected by it as well. They also often have elevated levels of the blood sugar-regulating hormone insulin, and experts think that problems in the body's use of insulin may underlie the other hormonal shifts seen in PCOS.

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