Reproductive Consequences of Athletic Training in Women

  • Carol Grace Smith
  • Raymond A. Dombroski


Physical exercise and athletic training have become an important part of many women’s lifestyles. Thirty years ago, young women and girls were discouraged from participating in such activities. Although boys were expected to participate in athletic training, girls were encouraged not to be too physically active or competitive in sports. Underlying this attitude was the basic belief that female reproductive function might somehow be damaged by too much exercise, especially during menstruation. The beneficial effects of physical fitness on the cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and metabolic systems are now well recognized for both men and women, and regular exercise has become an important component of a healthful lifestyle. However, the increasing participation of women in athletic training programs has again brought attention to the effects of exercise on reproductive function. The most important of the reproductive changes that frequently accompany intense physical training in women is called athletic amenorrhea or oligomenorrhea. Amenorrhea is a clinical term denoting disruption of the reproductive system with probable anovulation (cycles longer than 90 days duration). The term oligomenorrhea (or irregular cycles) refers to menstrual cycles with inconsistent intervals of 39 to 90 days duration. The terms eumenorrheic, regular, and cyclic are used interchangeably to refer to normal menstrual cycles which recur consistently at intervals of 25 to 39 days duration.


Luteinizing Hormone Obstet Gynecol Luteal Phase Corpus Luteum Fetal Heart Rate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol Grace Smith
    • 1
  • Raymond A. Dombroski
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyThe University of Texas Health Science Center at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA

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