Hyperandrogenism is a common disorder in the reproductive age female. It is associated with cutaneous manifestations and ovulatory dysfunction. The degree of hyperandrogenaemia is directly related to the severity of ovulatory dysfunction. The ovulatory dysfunction frequently leads to infertility. The most common form of hyperandrogenism is idiopathic glucocorticoid-suppressible hyperandrogenism (IGSH). The management of this disorder involves appropriate use of physiological doses of glucocorticoids. This treatment leads not only to normalization of serum androgen levels but also to amelioration of cutaneous symptoms and improvement in ovulatory function. In infertile women with ovulatory dysfunction secondary to IGSH, occurrence of pregnancy after treatment with glucocorticoids is directly related to the degree of the suppression of serum androgen levels. In other words, this treatment does not 'induce ovulation', but its effectiveness in improving ovulatory function is a result of a correction of the hyperandrogenic state. At physiological doses glucocorticoid therapy does not appear to be associated with significant side-effects. With appropriate management, androgen levels can be maintained within the normal range indefinitely. Furthermore, in a majority of patients, androgen levels remain within the normal range for a long time (years) after discontinuation of chronic glucocorticoid therapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynecology