Estrogen replacement therapy and female athletes: current issues

Sports Med. 2001;31(15):1025-31. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200131150-00001.


Physicians commonly recommend estrogen replacement as treatment for exercise-associated amenorrhoea. While the evidence shows that the basis of the amenorrhoea is estrogen deficiency, it is not clear that it is the only factor in the development of lowered bone density found in oligo-amenorrhoeic female athletes. Nutritional factors, significant in the development of the reproductive dysfunction, could also contribute to bone loss. No randomised, controlled studies of estrogen replacement in athletes have been published. However, one nonrandomised study of a small group of athletes does suggest that there are significant gains in bone density to be made by the initiation of estrogen therapy. More research is clearly needed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amenorrhea / complications
  • Amenorrhea / drug therapy*
  • Amenorrhea / etiology*
  • Body Composition
  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy*
  • Estrogens / deficiency*
  • Estrogens / pharmacology
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility / etiology
  • Nutritional Status
  • Osteoporosis / etiology
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control
  • Recovery of Function
  • Sports*


  • Estrogens