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  1. #1
    SoulCyster #1 KatCarney's Avatar
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    Default Research: Polycystic ovarian syndrome more common in lesbians

    First proof that polycystic ovarian syndrome is more than twice as common in lesbian women

    Madrid, Spain: Researchers have found the first evidence that a common cause of infertility in women is more prevalent amongst lesbians than heterosexuals[1], and they suggest that the biochemical disorder associated with the condition might contribute to the women's sexual orientation.

    Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the commonest cause of ovarian dysfunction in women and is caused by an imbalance of sex hormones. One of the main features of PCOS is hyperandrogenism[2], and now that the researchers have discovered the increased prevalence of PCOS amongst lesbian women they hypothesize that hyperandrogenism could be contributing to the women's sexual orientation.

    Dr. Rina Agrawal, deputy medical director at the London Women's Clinic and The Hallam Medical Centre, and her colleagues examined 618 women who attended the clinic for fertility treatment between November 2001 and January 2003. Of these, 254 were lesbian and 364 were heterosexual women.

    The women did not know whether they had polycystic ovaries (PCO) or PCOS before attending the clinic, but 15% of them had been treated previously for symptoms relating to PCOS such as irregular periods, inability to conceive, acne or excessive body or facial hair.

    The women had a pelvic ultrasound examination on the second or third day of their menstrual cycle, and blood samples were taken to measure levels of reproductive hormones. A clinician, nurse and counsellor or clinical psychologist took details of their medical and sexual histories in three separate sessions.

    The researchers found that the prevalence of PCO was 32% in heterosexual women and 80% in lesbian women, and that the prevalence of PCOS was 14% in heterosexual women and 38% in lesbian women. The average prevalence amongst all 618 women (lesbian and heterosexual) was 52% for PCO and 24% for PCOS. This compares with European data that show that the prevalence of PCO in the general population is 22% and 10-15% for PCOS, while 40% of all women who seek fertility treatment have PCO/PCOS.

    Dr. Agrawal said: "We observed a significantly higher prevalence of PCO/PCOS in lesbian compared with heterosexual women. Our initial results are also suggestive of a significantly greater hyperandrogenism in lesbian compared with heterosexual women.

    The blood samples revealed that hormones such as testosterone, androstenedione, free testosterone index and luteinizing hormone (LH) were significantly higher, and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG)[3] was significantly lower in lesbian women compared with heterosexual women. Dr. Agrawal said: "When we compared lesbian and heterosexual women with PCOS, lesbian women had significantly higher androgens and lower SHBG compared with heterosexual women. We found a similar result in women with PCO only, but in lesbian and heterosexual women with normal ovaries, the androgens and SHBG levels were similar."

    She continued: "Our research neither suggests nor indicates that PCO/PCOS causes lesbianism, only that PCO/PCOS is more prevalent in lesbian women. We do, however, hypothesize that hyperandrogenism, which is associated with PCOS, may be one of the factors contributing to the sexual orientation of women."

    However, the researchers are quick to dismiss any idea that if this was the case, then treatments for PCOS could also be seen as a "cure" for lesbianism. Dr. Agrawal said: "In 1973 the decision to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders was made and since then the focus has shifted from the 'cure' of homosexuality to the physical and psychological health concerns of these individuals. We do not view lesbianism as a disease that is in need of a 'cure'. The only aspects of health care we offer these women are reproductive health and assisted reproduction."

    Previous studies have shown a similar prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases among lesbian compared with heterosexual women, but had not investigated the effect of this on the women's Fallopian tubes. Dr. Agrawal's study showed that there was a similar incidence of Fallopian tube disease in both groups. "The importance of this finding is to make clinicians aware that sexually transmitted diseases are just as prevalent in lesbian women as in heterosexual women. Previous studies have shown that at least 70% of lesbian women have been heterosexual or bisexual previously. Sexual practices amongst the remaining 30% who have never been heterosexual means that STDs can be transmitted between women sexually.

    Dr. Agrawal concluded: "There are several challenges and gaps in the research and healthcare of homosexual people, and this in itself calls for focus and funding of this aspect of medicine. In the past 20 years only 0.1% of published articles were dedicated to the healthcare of homosexual individuals, and before 1990 homosexual people were invisible to healthcare research. Our study emphasizes the importance of treating these women in a non-judgmental and non-biased manner so that clinicians may offer them appropriate health advice. I hope that this study will provide an impetus and motivation to clinicians and reproductive endocrinologists to investigate and explore further the hypothesis outlined here."


    ###
    Abstract no: O-070 (Monday 30 June, 15.15 hrs CET, Roma room)

    Notes
    [1] Although PCOS is common cause of infertility in women, this does not mean that infertility is more common in lesbian women than in heterosexuals; in fact the opposite is true, and pregnancy rates are higher in lesbian compared to heterosexual women.
    [2] Hyperandrogenism is caused by abnormally high concentrations of androgens (male steroid hormones in women). Symptoms range from excess facial and body hair, to baldness, acne, deepening of the voice and loss of breast tissue.
    [3] SHBG is a protein that binds testosterone and other sex hormones. Women with PCOS may have normal concentrations of total testosterone, but their SHBG is lowered and therefore free testosterone concentrations are elevated, which results in symptoms related to hyperandrogenism.

  2. #2
    SoulCyster #1 KatCarney's Avatar
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    Default Common fertility snag more prevalent in lesbians

    Common fertility snag more prevalent in lesbians

    By Patricia Reaney
    MADRID, Spain (Reuters) - Lesbians are more likely to
    suffer from a common fertility problem that can also increase
    their risk of developing obesity, heart disease and diabetes
    than other women.
    Dr Rina Agrawal, a fertility expert at the London Women's
    Clinic and The Hallam Medical Center in Britain, said an
    ovarian problem caused by an imbalance of sex hormones is more
    than twice as common in lesbians as in heterosexual women.
    "A startling number of lesbian women have polycystic
    ovarian syndrome (PCOS)," Agrawal told a fertility conference.
    "The prevalence of PCOS is two and a half times, almost
    three times, as high in lesbian women compared to heterosexual
    women."
    PCOS is the most common cause of ovarian dysfunction in
    women. It is characterized by abnormal follicles, cells in
    which the eggs mature in the ovaries, irregular periods, acne,
    obesity, a hormone imbalance and an increase in body and facial
    hair.
    The London clinic was among the first centers in Europe to
    offer fertility treatment to lesbians and single women. In a
    study of 618 women treated at the clinic, Agrawal discovered
    that 38 percent of the lesbian women had PCOS, compared to 14
    percent of the heterosexual women.
    The cause of PCOS is unknown but an excess of androgens, or
    male hormones, has been linked with PCOS. Other research
    studies have linked hyperandrogenism to sexual orientation.
    Agrawal said her research neither suggests nor indicates
    PCOS causes lesbianism, only that PCOS is more prevalent in
    lesbian women.
    "Our data does not make any conclusions or assumptions
    because it would be incorrect to make assumptions based on one
    single study," she said.
    But she added that doctors should be aware that lesbians
    have a higher rate of PCOS because it has health implications
    beyond fertility.
    "The main concern is on the wider health aspects such as
    obesity, non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes and
    cardiovascular disease which are much more common in women with
    PCOS -- that is where the concern comes in," she said.
    "Our study emphasizes the importance of treating these
    women in a nonjudgmental and non-biased manner so that
    clinicians may offer them appropriate health advice."

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    taytaytc (11-21-2014)

  4. #3
    Moderator rrowley's Avatar
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    Cool Well, I'll be...

    This was something I always fiddled with in the back of my mind...because it seemed to be true in the women I knew with PCOS. It is interesting to see that it really is bearing out to be the case in research.

    Rebecca
    %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
    Rebecca is Rebecca Lewis

    PCOS/IR - two decades
    Self DX - November 2000
    Began Low Carbing - November 2000
    DR DX - December 2000
    Met XR- 1000/day
    Weight Loss to date: 80 pounds

  5. #4
    Registered User Light_in_the_tunnel's Avatar
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    Default

    We had a discussion about this very thing in Feb of 02. I bumped it back up to the top for anyone who would like to read through the responses.

    Jeni
    PCOS, IR and all the trimmings
    Mother of 2 teenage daughters with Hypothyroidism
    Met 1000mg bid

  6. #5
    Registered User serenity's Avatar
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    Default chicken or egg...

    Fascinating stuff. The bit about whether treating PCOS could "cure" lesbianism is kindof distressing. Although in my experience, "treating" my PCOS did not prevent me from "becoming" a lesbian. I was on the pill and dating a man when I realized (or admitted to myself) that I was oriented towards women.
    - me 28, DP 40
    - diagnosed PCOS April 2003
    - mom diagnosed w/ stage 4 endometrial cancer February 2003
    (recovering well after chemo & rads)
    - "Chocolate" cyst removed from left ovary 1996, recently found a new one (possible endometriosis)
    - Plan to ttc in 2005 (at age 30)

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    Erinsgirl (07-31-2013)

  8. #6
    Registered User Raven1's Avatar
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    Default

    Really interesting. I wondered if there was any connection.

  9. #7
    Goddess SoulCyster Akashamoon's Avatar
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    Default

    makes sense to me..I have always been bi-sexual!!

  10. #8
    Corrie-Ann
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    Default

    That is very interesting! I have been a bi-sexual woman for many years!

  11. #9
    Rockin' SoulCyster! DaraRocks's Avatar
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    Been Bi since birth

    Dara~who rocks!

    Hidden Content

    mommy to Hidden Content

    Can I go home now?


    Dara feels: Hidden Content

  12. #10
    Diva SoulCyster! WindyB's Avatar
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    Default The research gets better....

    Being a bi-sexual cyster myself I always knew it was hormonal. It makes perfect sense to be attracted to a woman in any case. We are more comforting, understanding, and accepting. I have been reading and reading, and even more reading. Now my question is.....if I lose weight, get my hormone level corrected, and treat my IR, will I suddenly become "un-bi" ? Medically I can understand the relation but I'm not convinced its a driving factor for my attractions.
    Ok, I'm now off my soapbox. Thanks for letting me vent a little.
    Windy B 35 Rex- DH -29
    Fur babies: Dogzilla, Tyranny, Panzer, and Chaos
    DX PCOS by RE in APR 2002
    4 MCs over 13 yrs
    Met: 2000mg/day-started 9/28/03
    3 Clomid Cycles-all failures
    Started seeing Dr. Starks (RE)
    First Cycle 150ui Follistim-7 follies didn't mature(13mm) and E2 levels dropped. Unsuccessful.
    11/30/03-2nd cycle: CD 2-6 100mg Clomid in AM. CD4-8 225ui Follistim. He also put me on .25mg Dexamathesone daily. (Dex is supposed to lower male hormones.)
    2-mature Follies on L and 2 on R ovary!! Did an IUI on CD 13 and DR confident. Prog level 48 on CD 20...good news! CD 23 started menses, another busted cycle. RE suspects insulin levels are the culprit. Still taking Met and working on eating right to fix this.
    In a permanent holding pattern due to company taking away fertility benefits. Trying to stay positive.....working folk surely will have some good luck one day. Hidden Content

  13. #11
    Goddess SoulCyster Akashamoon's Avatar
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    Nah...I don't think you will be-come "un- Bi",LOL!!I have you-yoed so many times thoughout my time having PCOS..mainly because i didn't understand that I needeed to eat a certain way forever if I wanted not to gain weight and keep it from progressing in othere areas too,like hair loss and hair growth in other places...I have gotten very thin at times lasting up to 4 years at a time,even enough to have a baby naturally after trying unsuccessfully for 6 and a half years..and you know what?i have still been BI!!!Still desireing women..It never goes away,at least for me,hehe!!!!i hope it never does either!!I agree with you..women ARE all those things you mentioned and MORE!!!

  14. #12
    Ladybug Princess Shainzzz's Avatar
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    Default

    I'm bi... and I highly doubt any treatment for PCOS will change my sexual orientation. Like Dara, I've been bi since birth.

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    Registered User Emmanuelle's Avatar
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    Default

    I have something to add to this. I live in Canada and I was watching a tv show aimed at the gay and lesbian community and according to different studies, lesbians have a higher risk of hormonal-induced cancers including breast cancer than heterosexual women...BUT...it's because of their lifestyle. Lesbians drink more alcohol, are more inclined to smoke and be obese and have unhealthy eating habits. Now, since PCOS has been associated with the extremely high consumption of high sugar foods in our North American diets, if lesbians are more likely to have PCOS it might just be because of their unhealthy habits don't you think?

  16. #14
    I love my family! Xeri_28's Avatar
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    Cool

    I'm bisexual, too. I love my boyfriend with all my heart, but I am still attracted to women (though I never act on it because we are monagamous).

    I told him the first time we met about who I am. (I had recently had an ex come back into my life for a "second chance" only to reject me when I came out to him), so I wanted to be upfront with him.

    It has been an awesome two years, and I look forward to spending the rest of my life with him. We enjoy women together in the sense that we like looking at Playboy together, watching videos and going to strip clubs together. We've talked candidly about me being "allowed" to be with women (in terms of outside our monagamy) but as much as I was tempted, I said no because I know, as open-minded as he is, deep down he'd be hurt, and I could never do that to him. He says he doesn't want to hold me back, and I tell him it's not like that. Sure, I'm physically attracted to women, but he's the total package for me.

    I could have fallen for a woman, but I fell for him.

    and I never associated PCOS with bisexuality... though it is something to think about.
    Deeply in love with my DH David and our DS Jacob.
    Jake was born on Friday, August 4th, 2006 at 12:17am.
    m/c at 17 wks pg on Dec. 24/10. RIP baby girl Ruby Caroline. Momma loves you.

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  17. #15
    Honarary Angel AngelRose's Avatar
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    Default being bi

    you know whats funny, i never thought there was anything bi or lesbian about me, i was just attracted to people and not gender bias.... but i guess we all find ourselves coming out in a different way. and no, you can't be "cured" lol because your sexual orientation although maybe hormonal, i find memories arousing to, and you cant wipe your past away.

    angel
    25 years old
    DX May 2003 symptoms since 1992
    jUST BEEN TOLD I WILL NEED A FULL HYSTERECTOMY B4 AGE27

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