Discriminating hypothalamic oligomenorrhea/amenorrhea from hyperandrogenic oligomenorrhea/amenorrhea in exercising women

Kristen J. Koltun, Nancy I. Williams, Jennifer L. Scheid, Mary Jane De Souza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The mechanism underlying oligo/amenorrhea in exercising women is often presumed as hypothalamic inhibition secondary to energy deficiency; however, hyperandrogenism may provide an alternative mechanism in some exercising women. Our purpose was to compare reproductive, metabolic, and androgen profiles of exercising women with eumenorrheic, ovulatory menstrual cycles (n = 91), oligo/amenorrhea without evidence of hyperandrogenism (Oligo/Amen; n = 83), and oligo/amenorrhea with evidence of hyperandrogenism (Oligo/Amen-HA; n = 17), and determine the prevalence of oligo/amenorrhea with evidence of hyperandrogenism in exercising women. Self-reported menstrual history and quantification of daily estrogen and progesterone urinary metabolites determined reproductive status. Resting energy expenditure, body composition, and metabolic hormone concentrations determined metabolic status. Serum androgens and calculated free androgen index (FAI) determined androgen status. Groups were similar in age (22.4 ± 0.3 years), height (165.1 ± 0.5 cm), resting energy expenditure (1198.4 ± 12.0 kcal/day), and total triiodothyronine (85.0 ± 1.5 ng/dL) concentration. Oligo/Amen-HA had greater weight (60.0 ± 1.6, 56.1 ± 0.7 kg), body mass index (22.3 ± 0.4, 20.6 ± 0.2 kg/m2), percentage body fat (27.3% ± 1.4%, 24.4% ± 0.6%), fat mass (16.2 ± 1.0, 13.8 ± 0.4 kg), insulin (5.8 ± 0.7, 4.2 ± 0.3 IU/mL), leptin (12.2 ± 2.3, 6.6 ± 0.7 ng/mL), FAI (6.1 ± 0.3, 1.7 ± 0.1), and luteinizing hormone/follicle-stimulating hormone (1.9 ± 0.3, 1.3 ± 0.2) compared with Oligo/Amen, respectively. In our sample, 17% of those with oligo/amenorrhea had concurrent hyperandrogenism. This study supports that oligo/amenorrhea in some exercising women is related to hyperandrogenism. Novelty • Caution must be utilized when discriminating hypothalamic oligo/amenorrhea from hyperandrogenic oligo/amenorrhea. • In our sample, 17% of those with presumed hypothalamic oligo/amenorrhea had concurrent hyperandrogenism. • Exercise and/or mild energy deficiency may be protective against developing severe hyperandrogenic symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-714
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism
Volume45
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Physiology (medical)

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