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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 ovaries camera.gif 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.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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