Menstrual disorders in athletes

Sports Med. 2005;35(9):747-55. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200535090-00002.


The various menstrual disorders in athletes may reflect different degrees of exposure to a disrupting factor or differences in the susceptibility of various women to disruption. The incidences of these disorders are not well documented, but they appear to be highest in aesthetic, endurance and weight-class sports, and at younger ages, higher training volumes and lower bodyweights. The morbid effects of these disorders include infertility, low bone mass, impaired endothelium-dependent vasodilation, and impaired skeletal muscle oxidative metabolism. The high incidences of menstrual disorders in athletes may derive in part from the self-selection of extraneously affected women into athletics, but many women acquire their menstrual disorders in athletics by failing to adequately increase dietary energy intake in compensation for exercise energy expenditure. Applied research is needed to develop effective dietary interventions that are acceptable to athletes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amenorrhea / epidemiology
  • Amenorrhea / physiopathology
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Menstruation Disturbances / epidemiology
  • Menstruation Disturbances / physiopathology*
  • Oligomenorrhea / epidemiology
  • Oligomenorrhea / physiopathology
  • Sports*