Sports Medicine
A Crucial Period
Good Pain, Bad Pain
On Your Knees
Secondary Injuries
Imaging Technology
What's Sciatica?
The Female Athlete
Putting Your Feet First
Itis Schmitis
Too Much, Too Soon
Under the Influence
What's Goin' On?
Think Inches, Not Pounds
Preventing Vaginitis
That Painful Pull
Athlete's Heart
Exercise & Arthritis
Chilled to the Bone
Measuring Body Fat
Exercise and Your Breasts
Choosing a Sports Doctor
Lean on Me (Shoulder)
Exercise & Anemia
Exercise Abuse
Pelvis Sighting
Hand Aid
It's All in the Wrist
Back in Action
Altitude Adjustment
Tennis Elbow, Anyone?
Exercising in the Heat
Agony of the Feet
Restless Legs
Night Time Cramps
Birth Control Concerns
No Periods, No Babies?
Post Partum Prescription
Weight Loss Mystery
Undesirable Cooldown
To Brew Or Not To Brew
Fitness After Baby
Biking and Back Pain
Swimmer's Shoulder
A Hidden Athlete
Avoiding Osteoporosis
Drug Testing
Maximum Heart Rate
Headway Against Headaches
Torn Rotator Cuff
Fat Figures
Bloody Urine
Sag Story
Lackluster Leg
Bothersome Bulge
Gaining in Years
Taking It On the Shin
Aching Ankles
Hoop Help
Tender Toes
Meals For Muscle
Growing Pains
Hot Tips
High Altitude PMS
Personal Bests
Air Pollution
Ankle Blues
Heartbreak Heel
Yeast Relief

A Crucial Period

Missing menstruation from too much exercise can have serious consequences.

Some women think they're finally "getting into shape" when they exercise so much that they stop having periods - a condition called amenorrhea. They might also think they no longer need to use birth control; if they aren't menstruating, how can they get pregnant? Both of these myths can have serious implications for your health.

To maintain menstruation, women need a certain amount of calories, protein and body fat. In addition, factors such as stress, Weight loss, intense training, a history of irregular periods and late menarche (a woman's first period) may make a woman more prone to the cessation of menstruation.

Amenorrhea is a warning from your body that there is too much energy drain. The body stops menstruating al-most as a protective factor to guard against pregnancy during a time of physiological stress.

Women active in all types of sports - from aerobics to Weight lifting, soccer to swimming - have been found to have a higher prevalence of amenorrhea than non athletes. This condition is known as exercise-associated amenorrhea, or EAA.


EAA is not a sign of peak physical conditioning; it's actually an indication of a system edging toward collapse. It has been associated with higher injury rates and lower bone density in female athletes.

Studies by Barbara Drinkwater, Ph.D., and colleagues at the Pacific Medical Center in Seattle, and Chris Cann, Ph.D., at the University of California at San Francisco, found significantly lower bone density in female runners with amenorrhea. The discovery of this bone loss was a surprise to the medical community because one of the benefits of weight-bearing exercise is an increase in bone density.

Decreasing bone mass has serious implications, including an increased chance of stress fracture in the short term and the increased likelihood of developing osteoporosis in the long term. The symptoms may not appear until a stress fracture happens in our 20s or 30s, a hip fracture occurs sometime in our 60s or we are burdened with a "dowager's hump." Can this be prevented?

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Billie Jean King

Comments by Barb Harris
Editor in Chief,
Shape Magazine

General Health
Common Medical Problems
Dental Health
Infectious Disease
Sexual Health
Emotional Well-Being
Eating Disorders
Alcohol & Other Drugs
Environmental Health

The information in this web site is for educational purposes only and is not providing medical or professional advice. It should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. If you have or suspect you might have any health problems, you should consult a physician.

Copyright 2000 - Sports Doctor, Inc.