195645 Do rates of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) vary among Heterosexual and Lesbian Women?

Monday, November 9, 2009: 12:45 PM

Helen Smith, MPH , Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Nina Markovic, PhD , Graduate School of Public Health, Dept. of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Michelle Danielson, PhD , Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, PA
Evelyn O. Talbott, DrPH, MPH , Department of Epidemiology, Director University of Pittsburgh Academic Center for Excellence in Environmental PH Tracking, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Alicia Matthews, PhD , Department of Public Health, Mental Health, and Administrative Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Brinda Kalro, MD , University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Ada Youk, PhD , Department of Statistics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), the most common endocrine disorder occurring in 4-10% of women in the general population, is associated with adverse health outcomes such as infertility, cardiovascular disease and Type II Diabetes. Despite physician recognition that lesbians may have higher rates of PCOS than heterosexual women, only two published studies with conflicting results exist. Our aim was to determine if rates of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) vary among heterosexual and lesbian women using data from the ESTHER Project (Epidemiologic Study of Health Risk in Women). The ESTHER Project (2003-2006) included 1084 women 34 years and over, about half self-identified as lesbian (n= 504). Self-reported rates of diagnosed polycystic ovaries (PCO) significantly differed by sexual orientation (Lesbians 8%, Heterosexuals 4%, p<.01). No significant differences were found when other identifiers of PCOS were examined (hirsutism, adult acne, family history of PCOS). Currently, measures of testosterone, androstenedione and SHBG are being conducted on a subgroup (n=251) of this sample to better describe PCOS cases and to compare PCOS symptoms between heterosexual and lesbian women identified by bio-chemical measures. Preliminary results show that lesbians may be diagnosed with PCOS more often than heterosexual women (based on reported medical history). Findings from this study may provide health care professionals with: (1) improved assessment tools for diagnosis of PCOS among lesbian women, (2) additional information regarding symptomology of PCOS, and (3) potential strategies to help reduce the risk factors for and better manage the symptoms of PCOS that may be specific to lesbians.

Learning Objectives:
1.Describe the prevalence and symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) among a community sample of women 2. Demonstrate if the clinical and biochemical symptoms of PCOS vary among heterosexual and homosexual women

Keywords: Lesbian, Public Health Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract Author on the content I am responsible for because it is part of my PhD dissertation project. I plan to graduate this April 2009. I have been awarded two grants to complete this project, one came from the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association/Lesbian Health Fund.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.