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Associations of different hormonal contraceptive methods with hair concentrations of cortisol, cortisone, and testosterone in young women


Carrillo Vázquez, Mariana; Johnson-Ferguson, Lydia; Zimmermann, Josua; Baumgartner, Markus R; Binz, Tina M; Beuschlein, Felix; Ribeaud, Denis; Shanahan, Lilly; Quednow, Boris B (2022). Associations of different hormonal contraceptive methods with hair concentrations of cortisol, cortisone, and testosterone in young women. Comprehensive Psychoneuroendocrinology, 12:100161.

Abstract

Hair concentrations of cortisol, cortisone, and testosterone are non-invasive measures of cumulative steroid hormone levels. Use of contraceptives co-varies with levels of cortisol and cortisone in women's hair. It is unclear, however, how different contraceptive methods (i.e., that differ in their steroid hormone composition) affect corticosteroid and testosterone hair levels. The current study examines associations of contraceptives with hair steroid hormone concentrations in females from the community (N = 464, M = 20.6 years old, age range = 19-22). Self-reported contraceptives were first categorized as combined estrogen-progestin or progestin-only, and then analyzed individually in follow-up analyses. Multiple regressions adjusting for body mass index (BMI) and hair characteristics revealed that levels of hair cortisol, cortisone, and testosterone were significantly lower in women who used combined estrogen-progestin methods than in women who did not use hormonal contraception (βcortisol(log) = -0.29; βcortisone(log) = -0.28; βtestosterone(log) = -0.36), showing moderate to large effect sizes (d = 0.64, d = 0.71, and d = 0.81, respectively). Concentrations of hair cortisol were lower in women who used progestin-only contraceptives (β = -0.49) compared to no contraceptive use, with a large effect size (d = 1.67). Follow-up analyses revealed that the association of the three steroid hormones with estrogen-progestin methods was strongest for the combined oral "micro-pill." Future studies of hair steroid hormones should take into account the specific type of contraceptive used, as this may affect study results.

Abstract

Hair concentrations of cortisol, cortisone, and testosterone are non-invasive measures of cumulative steroid hormone levels. Use of contraceptives co-varies with levels of cortisol and cortisone in women's hair. It is unclear, however, how different contraceptive methods (i.e., that differ in their steroid hormone composition) affect corticosteroid and testosterone hair levels. The current study examines associations of contraceptives with hair steroid hormone concentrations in females from the community (N = 464, M = 20.6 years old, age range = 19-22). Self-reported contraceptives were first categorized as combined estrogen-progestin or progestin-only, and then analyzed individually in follow-up analyses. Multiple regressions adjusting for body mass index (BMI) and hair characteristics revealed that levels of hair cortisol, cortisone, and testosterone were significantly lower in women who used combined estrogen-progestin methods than in women who did not use hormonal contraception (βcortisol(log) = -0.29; βcortisone(log) = -0.28; βtestosterone(log) = -0.36), showing moderate to large effect sizes (d = 0.64, d = 0.71, and d = 0.81, respectively). Concentrations of hair cortisol were lower in women who used progestin-only contraceptives (β = -0.49) compared to no contraceptive use, with a large effect size (d = 1.67). Follow-up analyses revealed that the association of the three steroid hormones with estrogen-progestin methods was strongest for the combined oral "micro-pill." Future studies of hair steroid hormones should take into account the specific type of contraceptive used, as this may affect study results.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
04 Faculty of Medicine > Neuroscience Center Zurich
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
06 Faculty of Arts > Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Legal Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Endocrinology and Diabetology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Psychology (miscellaneous)
Health Sciences > Neurology (clinical)
Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Life Sciences > Immunology
Health Sciences > Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
Life Sciences > Biological Psychiatry
Life Sciences > Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
Uncontrolled Keywords:Pharmacology (medical)
Language:English
Date:1 November 2022
Deposited On:29 Nov 2022 13:42
Last Modified:19 Feb 2024 11:54
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:2666-4976
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpnec.2022.100161
PubMed ID:36393994
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)