Article Text

PDF
Factors associated with menstrual dysfunction and self-reported bone stress injuries in female runners in the ultra- and half-marathons of the Two Oceans
  1. L K Micklesfield,
  2. J Hugo,
  3. C Johnson,
  4. T D Noakes,
  5. E V Lambert
  1. UCT/MRC Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Department of Human Biology, UCT School of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  1. Dr L Micklesfield, UCT/MRC Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, PO Box 115, Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa 7700; lisam{at}sports.uct.ac.za

Abstract

Objective: To investigate factors associated with menstrual dysfunction, self-reported bone stress injuries and energy balance in women runners.

Methods: 613 runners were randomly sampled during the registration period for an endurance event. Demographic information, including self-reported height and weight, training and injury history and menstrual history, was collected by questionnaire.

Results: Ultra-marathon (ULTRA) participants (n = 276) were significantly older (mean (SD) 39 (8.2) vs 34 (10.5) years; p<0.001), lighter (58.2 (6.6) vs 59.6 (8.3) kg; p<0.05) and reported a higher training volume (p<0.001) than half-marathon (HALF) participants (n = 337). Significantly more ULTRA subjects than HALF subjects reported a previous bone stress injury (21% vs 14%; p<0.05). There was no difference between the groups for menstrual status, but age at menarche was later (p<0.01) in the ULTRA group. Data were combined according to the absence (REG; n = 368/602 (61%)) or presence (IRREG; n = 234/602 (39%)) of a history of menstrual irregularity. Subject morphology was similar between groups, but the IRREG group had a higher self-reported measure on the self-loathing subscale (SLSS; p<0.01). The whole group was then classified according to current menstrual status, with 165 women being classified as currently irregular. (OLIGO/AMEN; 11.6%) and 445 women as currently regular (EUMEN; 88.4%). There were no morphological differences between the groups, however the OLIGO/AMEN group had a later age of menarche (p<0.01) than the EUMEN group. Further, women who reported a previous bone stress injury had higher SLSS scores than those who did not (2.91 (0.98) vs 2.68 (0.84); p<0.05).

Conclusions: There may be two independent mechanisms associated with energy balance, which are related to bone stress injuries, but may not necessarily be related to menstrual dysfunction.

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Footnotes

  • Conflict of interest: None declared.

  • Abbreviations:
    BMD
    bone mineral density
    BMI
    body mass index
    HALF
    half-marathon
    IRREG
    presence of a history of menstrual irregularity
    REG
    absence of a history of menstrual irregularity
    SLSS
    self-loathing subscale
    ULTRA
    ultra-marathon

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.