Treatment of athletic amenorrhea with a diet and training intervention program

Int J Sport Nutr. 1996 Mar;6(1):24-40. doi: 10.1123/ijsn.6.1.24.


The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of a 15-week diet and exercise intervention program on energy balance, hormonal profiles, body composition, and menstrual function of an amenorrheic endurance athlete. The intervention program reduced training 1 day/week and included the use of a sport nutrition beverage providing 360 kcal/day. Three eumenorrheic athletes served as a comparison group and were monitored over the same 15-week period. The amenorrheic athlete experienced a transition from negative to positive energy balance, increased body fat from 8.2 to 14.4%, increased fasting luteinizing hormone (LH) from 3.9 to 7.3 mIU/ml, and decreased fasting cortisol from 41.2 to 33.2 micrograms/dl. The eumenorrheic subjects showed a 0.4% reduction in body fat, a decrease in follicular phase levels of LH from 7.9 to 6.5 mIU/ml, and no change in cortisol. These results suggest that nonpharmacological treatment can contribute to reestablishing normal hormonal profiles and menstrual cyclicity in amenorrheic athletes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amenorrhea / blood
  • Amenorrhea / diet therapy*
  • Amenorrhea / etiology
  • Body Composition
  • Diet
  • Energy Intake*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood*
  • Progesterone / blood
  • Running* / physiology


  • Progesterone
  • Estradiol
  • Luteinizing Hormone