Oral contraceptive pill may prevent more than pregnancy

ers of Oral Contraceptives" had never taken oral contraceptives. SHBG values were compared at baseline (groups i, ii and iii), while on the oral contraceptive (groups i and ii), and well beyond the 7 day half-life of sex hormone binding globulin at 49-120 (mean 80) days and more than 120 (mean 196) days after discontinuation of oral contraceptives (group ii).

The researchers concluded that SHBG values in the "Oral Contraceptive Continued-Users" were 4 times higher than those in the "Never-Users of Oral Contraceptives". Despite a decrease in SHBG values after discontinuation of oral contraceptive pill use, SHBG levels in "Oral Contraceptive Discontinued-Users" remained elevated when compared to "Never-Users of Oral Contraceptives". This led to the question of whether prolonged exposure to the synthetic estrogens of oral contraceptives induces gene imprinting and increased gene expression of SHBG in the liver in some women who have used the oral contraceptives.

Dr. Claudia Panzer, an endocrinologist in Denver, CO and lead author of the study, noted that "it is important for physicians prescribing oral contraceptives to point out to their patients potential sexual side effects, such as decreased desire, arousal, decreased lubrication and increased sexual pain. Also if women present with these complaints, it is crucial to recognize the link between sexual dysfunction and the oral contraceptive and not to attribute these complaints solely to psychological causes."

"An interesting observation was that the use of oral contraceptives led to changes in the synthesis of SHBG which were not completely reversible in our time frame of observation. This can lead to lower levels of 'unbound' testosterone, which is thought to play a major role in female sexual health. It would be important to conduct long-term studies to see if these increased SHBG changes are permanent," added Dr. Panzer.

Dr. Andre Guay, study co-author and Director of the

Contact: Sharon Agsalda
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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