Prevalence of non alcoholic fatty liver disease in premenopausal, posmenopausal and polycystic ovary syndrome women. The role of estrogens

Ann Hepatol. 2010 Oct-Dec;9(4):402-9.


Background & aim: Non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disease in Western countries. Population studies have demonstrated that men and posmenopausal women have higher prevalence of NAFLD. The aim was to investigate the prevalence of NAFLD in premenopausal, posmenopausal and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) women.

Methods: A cross sectional study carried out at University Hospital in Mexico City from January 2009 to November 2009. One hundred ninety seven women who agreed to participate were divided into groups, comprising 93 with NAFLD and without NAFLD. Anthropometric, metabolic and biochemical variables were measured. Serum estradiol and cortisol concentrations were determined and compared between the groups.

Results: Of the 197 patients, 93(47.2%) had NAFLD and 104 (52.8%) did not have NAFLD. The prevalence of NAFLD in premenopausal, postmenopausal and PCOS patients was 32.2, 57.9, and 62%, respectively. Age, BMI, hip to waist ratio, fasting glucose, HOMA -IR, and insulin were significantly higher in NAFLD patients. Women without NAFLD had significantly higher levels of serum estradiol (100 ± 95.4) compared with NAFLD patients (55.5 ± 66.6) p = 0.001. By group with and without NAFLD: premenopausal (55.44±93.3 vs. 128.56 ± 109.22), posmenopausal (44.98 ± 51.41 vs. 42.72 ± 51.48) and PCOS women (64.9 ± 53.3 vs. 101.36 ± 80.89) had significantly different hormone profile.

Conclusion: These results suggest that NAFLD is more prevalent in postmenopausal and women with PCOS than those premenopausal ones. The estrogens may have a protective effect of against NAFLD in women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Estrogens / physiology*
  • Fatty Liver / epidemiology
  • Fatty Liver / etiology
  • Fatty Liver / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / complications
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Postmenopause / physiology*
  • Premenopause / physiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors


  • Estrogens