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30 Mar 2004

Too much exercise

Can too much exircise, stop your menstrual periods?

Answer 332 views

01 Jan 0001

Hi Fifi

You can do this, certainly, although it would probably take quite severe training to do, however, it's not actually all that uncommon. Whether you do it or not depends on your diet, your lifestyle outside of exercise, and your habitual diet. There is something called the female athletic triad, which involves three conditions: disordered eating, osteoporosis and menstrual dysfunction. Basically, intense exercise or disordered eating patterns (or both) can lead to dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitarian-ovarian (HPO) axis, resulting in amenorrhea. I know of studies where it has been found that the risk of menstrual dysfunction is three times higher in athletes than in the normal population, and the risk appears to be highest in running. A good deal of this is related to training errors however. I would not say that exercise is the risk - rather, the problem is over doing the exercise, not allowing sufficient time for recovery and training too intensely. The problem is then worsened if your diet is not ideal for your lifestyle. If you feel that you may be in this situation where your training has stopped your menstrual periods, then I really would encourage you to back off the training and give the body a chance to recover and restore itself to health. It's also something that could be worth seeing a doctor about, and just making sure that it's not caused by something else, and perhaps a dietician, to make sure that you are eating to match an active lifestyle - you do need to increase your energy intake and intake of certain minerals and vitamins if you are trianing, so I would encourage you to do this.

Good luck

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