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Missed Periods and Endurance Training


Topic Overview

If you participate in endurance sports, you may miss periods or stop menstruating. This is called secondary amenorrhea, and it occurs because your ovariesClick here to see an illustration. are not producing enough estrogen. It is believed that stress and low body fat contribute to amenorrhea. This is more likely to happen if you are younger and if your periods are irregular to begin with.

Female athletes may use many harmful strategies, including excessive dieting, binging, and purging, in order to lose or maintain weight. Female athlete triad is a combination of three conditions that are common with athletic training: eating disorders, such as bulimia or anorexia; the absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea); and osteoporosis.

You can prevent female athlete triad.

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Exercise in moderation.
  • Tell your doctor about any changes in your menstrual periods.

If you exercise less or gain a little weight, your periods will probably start again. If these solutions are not possible or do not work, your doctor may prescribe birth control pills to help restore your cycle. These will regulate your periods and help keep your bones strong, reducing your risk for brittle bones (osteoporosis). Your doctor also may prescribe calcium supplements to help ensure that your bones stay healthy.

You can still become pregnant even though you are not menstruating. Practice birth control if you do not wish to become pregnant.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last RevisedJune 20, 2011

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