Serum Bisphenol A (BPA) and Testosterone in PCOS – Dr Fiona McCulloch

We already know that Bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the more significant endocrine disruptors in PCOS. It has been found that a single exposure to this chemical in the womb can induce PCOS in two generations of rats! We’re not rats, however, it’s already been found that BPA levels run higher in women with PCOS.

This new study pointed to similar facts, yet elaborates on the topic further [1].

This study took 106 women with PCOS and 80 women without the condition, and matched them for age and BMI.

What they found was that women with PCOS have higher levels of BPA in their blood

The more they had, the higher their testosterone levels and their free androgen index.This index indicates how much testosterone is unbound, or freely available to affect the body.

BPA in Food Cans

Where is BPA Found?

Bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the most common industrial compounds with endocrine-disrupting potential. It’s used to bind or harden plastic [3], and can be found in the following:

  • Industrial packaging
  • Food cans
  • Plastic bottles
  • Plastic water pipes
  • Thermal paper (receipts)
  • Cosmetics
  • Healthcare equipment
  • Children’s toys and clothing[4]

Human exposure to this chemical includes various routes such as oral—mainly by consumption of food products and dust inhalation—and transdermal contact, e.g. with plastic products or thermal paper.

This study was actually quite eye-opening. Similarly to other studies, BPA was found in almost all of the analyzed samples, with 99% of women with PCOS testing positive. 92% of women without PCOS tested positive as well.

Yet, in women with PCOS, the levels caused testosterone to increase, unlike in women without the condition.

So, first and foremost, BPA is clearly a strong aggravator, having a similar structure to estrogen. There are several possible mechanisms:

Since testosterone must be aromatized into estrogen, it’s possible that BPA is interfering with its conversion. It’s also possible that this harmful chemical can bind to sex hormone-binding globulin, letting testosterone go free in the bloodstream to cause all of its annoying androgen excess effects.

Related:The Cause of PCOS: AMH, Androgens and Other New Updates

But Then the Question is WHY:

Why do women with PCOS consistently have higher levels of BPA?


  1. The BPA is causing PCOS in some women, and they’re exposed due to the work they do, the foods they eat, or environmental toxicity.
  2. Bisphenol A has an affinity to fat: it has a disproportionate affinity to deposit in fat 300% more than when compared to other tissues.[2] Women with PCOS have inherent dysfunction of fatty tissue, with a tendency to enlarged, overstuffed adipocytes. It is possible that this is a “depot” where toxins are stored and slowly excreted over time, when compared to women without fat cell dysfunction.

Of note, it has been widely believed that BPA has a half life of 5 hours and is rapidly excreted in bile after being deactivated by the liver. That said, within many tissues—including the placenta—an enzyme known as Beta glucoronidase is present . This has the ability to reactivate the chemical into its active form.

Therefore, it’s quite possible that deactivated Bisphenol Acan recirculate through the body and bio-accumulate far more over time than had previously been thought. Now, evidence of its bioaccumulation is mounting and concerns over its potent impact on endocrine disorders in the population are becoming concerning.

BPA in plastic bottles

What Can You Do?

  • Avoid food in cans unless they have BPA-free linings (check their labels).
  • Don’t use any plastic containers: use glass or stainless steel instead.
  • Avoid skin transfer from tainted receipts—get them emailed or avoid touching as much as possible.
  • As dentist if composites are BPA free.
  • Supplemental Calcium D Glucarate can help mitigate reactivation of BPA. Typical doses are 1500 mg per day.

Our clinic does offer testing for levels of toxins like Bisphenol A and other endocrine disruptors. Contact us to make an appointment for testing.

Article References:

  1. Konieczna A, Rachoń D, Owczarek K, Kubica P, Kowalewska A, Kudłak B, Wasik A, Namieśnik JSerum bisphenol A concentrations correlate with serum testosterone levels in women with polycystic ovary syndromeReprod Toxicol2018 Sep 25;82:32-37.
  2. Csanády GA, Oberste-Frielinghaus HR, Semder B, Baur C, Schneider KT, Filser JGDistribution and unspecific protein binding of the xenoestrogens bisphenol A and daidzeinArch Toxicol2002 Jun;76(5-6):299-305.
  3. E. Jackson, R. Shoemaker, N. Larian, L. CassisAdipose Tissue as a Site of Toxin AccumulationComprehensive Physiology2017;7(4):1085-1135.
  4. A. Konieczna, A. Rutkowska, D. RachonHealth risk of exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA)Roczniki Panstwowego Zakladu Higieny2015;66(1):5-11.

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