Parabens and Menopause-Related Health Outcomes in Midlife Women: A Pilot Study

Diana C. Pacyga, Catheryne Chiang, Zhong Li, Rita S. Strakovsky, Ayelet Ziv-Gal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Parabens are antimicrobial agents prevalently found in daily-use products that can interfere with the endocrine and reproductive systems. In this study, we examined the cross-sectional associations of parabens with hot flashes, hormone concentrations, and ovarian volume in a subsample of 101 nonsmoking, non-Hispanic 45- to 54-year-old women from the Midlife Women's Health Study. Materials and Methods: Women self-reported their hot flash history and underwent a transvaginal ultrasound to measure ovarian volume. Participants provided blood for quantification of serum hormones (by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay or radioimmunoassay) and urine samples for measurements of urinary paraben biomarker levels (by high-performance liquid chromatography negative-ion electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry). Linear or logistic regression models evaluated associations of specific gravity-adjusted paraben biomarker concentrations with hot flashes, hormone concentrations, and ovarian volume. Results: We observed marginal associations of propylparaben, methylparaben, and parabens biomarkers (molar sum of four parabens) with hot flashes and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) concentrations, and of these paraben biomarkers and ethylparaben with ovarian volume. For example, women tended to have 32% (95% confidence intervals [CI]: 0.9 to 1.81), 40% (95% CI: 1.0 to 1.95), and 40% (95% CI: 0.98 to 2.01) higher odds of having recent, monthly, and mild hot flashes, respectively, for every two-fold increase in parabens. Similarly, women tended to have 14.54% (95% CI: -0.10 to 31.32) higher FSH concentrations, but 5.67% (95% CI: -12.54 to 1.75) reduced ovarian volume for every two-fold increase in parabens Conclusions: Overall, our preliminary findings suggest that urinary paraben biomarkers may be associated with menopause-related outcomes in midlife women. Additional studies in larger and diverse populations are needed to expand on these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1645-1654
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • FSH
  • hormone
  • hot flashes
  • menopause
  • ovary
  • parabens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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