Though controversial, seasonal variations in testosterone (T) have been observed in several populations of men throughout the world. This finding might impact screening and treatment of hypogonadism.
We examined the circannual patterns of sex hormones in the southwest United States.
A prospectively assembled database of almost 11,000 patients in a men's health practice was used to collect data on T, estradiol (E), sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Patient age, address, and date of visit were recorded. Of note, T:E ratio and free T were calculated values.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
The data were grouped by month and by season (3 month intervals beginning with June, July, and August as summer). ANOVA was used to compare hormone levels between seasonal and monthly data sets with P < 0.05 regarded as statistical significance.
Statistically significant differences in E (P = 0.02), T:E ratio (P < 0.01), FSH (P = 0.02), and SHBG (P < 0.01) were observed between seasons. Peak-to-trough variations were as follows: 6% for E, 16.5% for T:E ratio, 11.0% for FSH, and 11.6% for SHBG. The T:E ratio peaked in the spring and was at its nadir in the fall. No differences in T (P = 0.21), LH (P = 0.25), free T (P = 0.08), and DHEA (P = 0.11) were observed.
Statistically significant evidence of variation in estradiol and T:E ratio were identified in the men included in this study. While this is consistent with seasonal body habitus changes, physical activity levels, and hypothesized hormonal patterns, the variability reported in the literature makes further trials covering a broader geographic region important to confirm the findings.