Objectives: To compare the pubertal development, the hormonal profiles and the prevalence of hirsutism and menstrual disorders in obese adolescent girls and adolescent girls with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).
Methods: Data were collected from 96 obese adolescent girls and 78 adolescent girls with T1DM at Tanner stage IV or V, whose ages ranged between 11.9 and 17.9 years.
Results: High prevalence of hirsutism and menstrual disorder was found in the obese adolescent girls (36.5 and 42% respectively) and the adolescent girls with T1DM (21 and 44% respectively). The obese girls were significantly younger at pubarche, thelarche and menarche than the girls with T1DM. Hirsutism in the obese girls and those with T1DM was associated with hyperandrogenaemia and a raised free androgen index (FAI). When the cause of the raised FAI was investigated in both the groups of girls with hirsutism, the raised FAI in the obese girls was due to low serum sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels. In contrast, the raised FAI of the girls with T1DM and hirsutism was due to hyperandrogenaemia. Menstrual disorders in the T1DM girls were associated also with hyperandrogenaemia unlike obese girls.
Conclusions: Hirsutism and menstrual disorders are common in obese adolescent girls and adolescent girls with T1DM. Although hyperandrogenaemia is present in both groups of girls, the androgenic profiles of the two groups differ. The hyperandrogenaemia in the obese girls is primarily due to their decreased serum SHBG levels, whereas the hyperandrogenaemia in the girls with T1DM is due to their increased androgen production.