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n International SportMed Journal - High intensity training and menstrual cycle disorders in athletes : review article
Objective : This study reviewed the current literature about epidemiology, aetiology and treatment of menstrual cycle disorders in athletes.
Data sources : Literature from the past 25 years on menstrual cycle disorders in athletes using MEDLINE and library searches was combined with the author's research.
Study selection : Journal articles, abstracts and books were reviewed, and selected on their relevant contribution to data on epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnostic tests, preventive strategies and management protocols.
Data extraction : From these investigations the analysed variables and the main outcomes were extracted.
Data synthesis : Disorders of menstrual function, including amenorrhea, oligomenorrhea and delayed menarche are recognised to occur more frequently in female athletes than in the general population. Amenorrhea that is related to athletic training is mainly caused by changes in hypothalamus. These changes result in the decrease in oestrogen level, which can cause serious damage to the bones. There appears to be two major influences on the changes in hypothalamus : a critical level of body fat and the effect of stress.
Conclusions : Menstrual disorders should be promptly recognised and adequately treated because of their long-term consequences on bone health.
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