Menstrual irregularities in athletic women may be predictable based on pre-training menses

J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 1989 Jun;29(2):163-9.


With the use of a personally conducted survey the age at menarche, incidence of menstrual irregularity, whether training occurred before or after menarche, certain personality traits (anxiety, curiosity, anger), and the type of athletic activity performed, were assessed in 161 highly competitive women athletes of various types (e.g. professional dancers, basketball players, fencers, gymnasts, field hockey players, swimmers) and 65 age-matched nonathletic women. No significant difference was found between the mean age at menarche of competitive athletes 13.2 +/- 1.4 (SD) yrs and nonathletes 12.6 +/- 1.1 yrs or between athletes who trained before menarche 13.7 +/- 1.5 (SD) yrs compared to athletes who trained after menarche 12.7 +/- 1.3 yrs. However, there were significant differences in reference to the mean age at menarche for athletes and nonathletes when compared to current menstrual frequency (p less than 0.05) and for groups of athletes currently regular 12.9 +/- 1.2 (SD) yrs when compared to those currently irregular 13.4 +/- 1.6 yrs (PR greater than F = 0.0419), regardless of athletic status. Trait personality characteristics (anxiety, curiosity, anger) based on the Spielberger State-Trait Personality Inventory (STPI), showed no significance among the various athletes, or athletes compared to non-athletes, however, athletes having the highest mean anxiety scores 19.5 +/- 4.2 (SD) and lowest mean anger scores 17.0 +/- 3.6 (SD) had irregular menses. Predictability for the development of irregular menses was done by regression and stepwise discrimination with maximum improvement technique statistics using pre-training frequency of menses and post-training frequency of menses.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menarche
  • Menstrual Cycle*
  • Menstruation Disturbances*
  • Physical Education and Training*