Muscle performance, sex hormones and training in peri-menopausal and post-menopausal women

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2003 Feb;13(1):19-25. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0838.2003.20210.x.


Age-related deterioration in muscle performance is one of the major reasons for decreased functional capacity and disability in older people. In women, impaired muscle performance has already been observed during peri-menopause in concert with rapid and dramatic decrease in ovarian hormone production. This observation suggests that female sex steroids may have an important role among other agents in regulating muscle performance in middle-aged and older women. Previous experimental studies have shown that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and intensive physical training have positive effects on muscle force and explosive power in healthy post-menopausal women. Hormone replacement therapy in combination with physical training may exert even greater gains in muscle performance than HRT and training alone. Despite the significant mean increase in muscle force and power by HRT and/or training, a considerable variability in the individual responses is observed. The mechanism, by which female sex steroids act on muscle performance, is still unclear. Therefore, more research is needed in order to explore all the pathways, by which these steroids could act on skeletal muscle in peri-menopausal and post-menopausal women.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Climacteric / physiology*
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy*
  • Estrogens / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Physical Education and Training*
  • Postmenopause / physiology*


  • Estrogens