Hormonal profiles after the menopause.
The endocrinological changes of the climacteric have been defined by studying the concentrations of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinising hormone (LH), androstenedione, testosterone, oestrone, and oestradiol in 60 normal postmenopausal women of different menopausal ages. The women were studied in six groups, according to the number of years since their menopause. One year after the menopause androstenedione, oestrone, and oestradiol concentrations were reduced to about 20% of the values recorded during the early proliferative phase of the menstrual cycle. At the same time the mean concentration of FSH had risen by a factor of 13-4 and that of LH by a factor of 3-0. Concentrations of both gonadotrophins reached a peak of 18-4 and 3-4 times the proliferative phase value respectively after two to three years, and then gradually declined in the next three decades to values that were 40-50% of these maximal levels. Testosterone concentrations remained mostly in the normal range for premenopausal women but were depressed to 60% of these levels two to five years after the menopause, and the mean androstenedione levels showed a significant increase in the same group of women. The concentrations of both oestrone and oestradiol remained consistently low for 10 years after the menopause, but oestradiol concentrations inexplicably increased in the last two decades, with levels at the lower end of normal range for reproductive women in six patients.
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