Oligo/amenorrhea, as a part of the Female Athlete Triad has adverse effects on the athlete's bone mineral density (BMD) and cardiovascular system. Hypoestrogenism, due to suppression of hypothalamus-pituitary axis (HPA) as a result of energy imbalance, is the possible cause of the Triad. This study was designed based on following up and reassessment of elite female athletes who were diagnosed as menstrual dysfunction about two years ago.
This study was conducted in three phase sections: 1) Reassess the pattern of menstrual cycle among athletes who reported menstrual dysfunction about two years ago; 2) Bone mineral density was measured twice in the same machine and same center with a two-year interval; 3) The laboratory data including blood glucose, lipid profile and inflammatory markers was assessed in phase 3.
BMD of athletes did not change significantly after 25.5 months of oligomenorrhea P (spine) = 0.2, P (femur)=0.9. Mean of all cardiovascular factors was in the normal range except for high density lipoprotein (HDL) which was 49.28 (SD=9.18), however, most of the athletes had abnormalities in their lipid profile. Inverse relationship between the increase in the BMD of spine and total cholesterol (r =−0.49, P=0.04), Apolipoprotein A (r = −0.51 P=0.04), and very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) (r =−0.66, P=0.009). Also correlation between BMD of spine and HbA1C (r =−0.70, P=0.003) were significant.
Findings of this study show that negative changes in BMD and cardiovascular biomarkers of female athletes with functional hypothalamic menstrual dysfunction could occur if proper therapeutic intervention (including increase in calorie intake, decrease in exercise load or hormonal replacement) will not consider.
Keywords: Bone Mineral Density, Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Oligomenorrhea, Female Athletes