Idiopathic Hyperestrogenism in Postmenopausal Women
Idiopathic hyperestrogenism of unknown etiology in postmenopausal women (PIH), a new entity, was proposed. To clarify its etiology the 10 patients with this condition were observed.In 6 healthy postmenopausal volunteers who gave written consent, the adrenal and ovarian functions were investigated. Among the 10 PIH cases, a higher than normal serum level of estrone was observed in 4 cases and a level within the upper normal limit was noted in one case. The serum levels of estradiol and estriol, however, were normal in all cases. The increase of serum levels of estrone after ACTH load in the volunteers was seen in 3 cases, of serum estradiol in 5 cases (including 2 cases without ovaries due to previous surgical removal), of serum testosterone in 4 cases, and of serum Ai4-androstenedione and dehydroepiandrosterone in all 6 cases. These results suggest strongly that PIH is related to higher serum levels of estrone, which may be caused by an increased conversion rate of androgens to estrogens in the periphery and/or by an increased androgens production. Stress was considered to be one of the factors to increase the conversion and/or production of androgens.