Vol 91, No 9 (2020)
Research paper
Published online: 2020-09-30

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The impact of competitive sports on menstrual cycle and menstrual disorders, including premenstrual syndrome, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and hormonal imbalances

Mariola Czajkowska1, Agnieszka Drosdzol-Cop1, Beata Naworska1, Iwona Galazka1, Celina Gogola1, Magdalena Rutkowska1, Violetta Skrzypulec-Plinta1
Pubmed: 33030729
Ginekol Pol 2020;91(9):503-512.

Abstract

Objectives: With the considerable increase of female participation in youth sports, it has become crucial for medical professionals, coaches and parents to improve their competitiveness by understanding the conditions for which these females are at elevated risk and mitigating possible health consequences. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect competitive sports have on the disorders of the menstrual cycle, to investigate the frequency of PMS (premenstrual syndrome)/PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric order) in professional female athletes and to identify risk factors predisposing for PMS and PMDD. Additionally, the levels of selected hormones such as serum estradiol, FSH, LH and prolactin were investigated to identify any hormonal perturbances that might have influence or be the risk factors for menstrual dysfunctions. Material and methods: The study group consisted of 75 professional athletes (girls and young women at the age of 16–22) who lived on the territory of Silesia. The control group consisted of 50 girls and young women at the same age, who did not practice any sport. The research tools included daily diary of PMS symptoms created in line with The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommendations and ICD-10 diagnostic criteria, daily diary of PMDD symptoms created according to DSM-V diagnostic criteria of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and premenstrual symptoms screening tool (PSST). Results: The analysis of menstrual cycle disorders showed statistical significance for heavy menstrual bleeding (p = 0.01) and longer breaks between menstrual bleeds (p = 0.01). PMDD was diagnosed in 8% and PMS in more than 42% of respondents. The incidence of PMDD was not at significant variance between the groups (9.33% in contrast to 6.0%), while incidence of PMS was statistically different in both groups (p = 0.045) (49.33% vs 32.0%). A significant correlation between PMS, average age (p = 0.00001) and menarche age (p = 0.03) in young active athletes has been shown. The risk of PMS increased with age (by 1.71 with each year) (p = 0.0007). Conclusions: A number of other risk factors predisposing for PMS and PMDD has also been identified. The findings of these researches will enable the athletic care network to provide better care for young female athletes.

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