Missed Periods and Endurance Training
What is the connection between endurance training and missed periods?
If you take part in endurance sports, you may miss periods or stop menstruating. This is called secondary amenorrhea. It's more likely to happen if you are younger and if your periods are irregular to begin with.
It occurs because your ovaries aren't producing enough estrogen. Stress and low body fat are thought to contribute to amenorrhea. Exercising a lot without eating enough can cause you to have low body fat. And some athletes may use excessive dieting or binging and purging to lose or maintain weight. This can also cause them to have low body fat.
You can still become pregnant even though you aren't menstruating. Practice birth control if you don't want to get pregnant.
Lifestyle changes, such as exercising less and eating more, can help your periods start again. Your doctor may also prescribe hormone therapy and calcium supplements to protect against bone loss.
What other problems can result from endurance training?
Female athlete triad is a syndrome of three conditions that are common with athletic training. These conditions are low energy availability (exercising without eating enough), amenorrhea (not having menstrual periods), and osteoporosis.
Healthy lifestyle changes can help prevent female athlete triad. Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Exercise in moderation. And tell your doctor about any changes in your menstrual cycle.
Current as of: February 27, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine