1. Nailfold capillary pressure, digital blood flow and skin temperature have been measured on days 7, 14, 21 and 28 of the menstrual cycle in 10 women on a combined oral contraceptive pill and 10 control subjects with normal menstrual cycles.
2. Capillary pressure and digital blood flow were statistically significantly higher in the group taking an oral contraceptive pill compared with control subjects.
3. Capillary pressure values for women failed to show the same positive correlation with skin temperature previously described in normal men.
4. The results are interpreted as evidence for a powerful modulating influence of sex steroids on digital microvascular haemodynamics.