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Irregular Periods in Female Athletes

Swedish researchers show that irregular periods in female athletes may be caused by high levels of male hormones, rather than the commonly accepted theory of not eating enough food.

Irregular periods in athletes are not caused by exercising too much, because when female athletes continue to train, but increase their intake of food, they usually resume having normal periods. However, female athletes who have irregular periods have much higher blood levels of masculinizing hormones than those with regular periods. Female athlete with irregular periods and high male hormone levels, also have larger muscles and bones and are much stronger than athletes with regular periods. This study suggests that women who have high blood levels of male hormones are more likely to become athletes and the masculinizing hormones that make them better athlete are more likely to cause irregular periods.

1) Hyperandrogenicity is an alternative mechanism underlying oligomenorrhea or amenorrhea in female athletes and may improve physical performance. Fertility and Sterility, 2003, Vol 79, Iss 4, pp 947-955. A Rickenlund, K Carlstrom, B Ekblom, TB Brismar, B vonSchoultz, AL Hirschberg. Rickenlund A, Karolinska Hosp, Dept Obstet & Gynecol, Res Lab Reprod Hlth, C4-U1, SE-17176 Stockholm, SWEDEN.

Checked 5/5/14

May 12th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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