A prospective study of the menstrual cycle and spinal cord injury

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 1992 Feb;71(1):15-21. doi: 10.1097/00002060-199202000-00005.


Sixty seven menstrual cycles were studied prospectively in a nonclinical sample of 20 women who had suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury (quadriplegia n = 13; paraplegia n = 7) at least 1 yr before assessment. Level of injury did not influence cycle length (mean +/- SE = 28.7 +/- 3 days), duration of menses (4.6 +/- 1 days) or serum concentrations of gonadotropins and ovarian hormones. Midluteal phase serum progesterone values were consistent with ovulation (progesterone = greater than 5 ng/ml) in 93% of the cycles in which endocrine measures were obtained; but the ability of basal body temperature pattern to predict serum progesterone was low (43%). Cyclic dysmenorrhea was reported by 13 women with injuries ranging from C5 to T12. These findings suggest that ovulatory menstrual cycles are common in women after traumatic spinal cord injury and support the need for contraception by those wishing to avoid pregnancy. Basal body temperature charts revealed potential problems in applying the symptothermal method of natural family planning to a population of women at risk for oral contraceptives.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / blood
  • Gonadotropins, Pituitary / blood
  • Humans
  • Menstruation*
  • Paraplegia / physiopathology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quadriplegia / physiopathology*


  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • Gonadotropins, Pituitary