Functional hypothalamic amenorrhoea (FHA) can occur due to the independent or combined effects of psychogenic and energetic stressors. In exercising women, research has primarily focused on energy deficiency as the cause of FHA while psychological stressors have been ignored. To assess both psychological and metabolic factors associated with FHA in exercising women, we performed across-sectional comparison of 61 exercising women (≥2 hours/week, age 18–35 years, BMI 16–25kg/m2), who were eumenorrheic or amenorrhoeic confirmed by daily urine samples assayed for reproductive hormone metabolites. Psychological factors and eating behaviours were assessed by self-report questionnaires. Exercising women with FHA had lower resting metabolic rate (p=0.023), T3 (p<0.001), T4 (p=0.013), leptin (p=0.002), higher peptide YY (p<0.001), greater drive for thinness (p=0.017), greater dietary cognitive restraint (p<0.001), and displayed dysfunctional attitudes, i.e., need for social approval (p=0.047) compared to eumenorrheic women. Amenorrhoeic women displayed asignificant positive correlation between the need for social approval and drive for thinness with indicators of stress, depression, and mood, which was not apparent in eumenorrheic women. In exercising women with FHA, eating behaviours are positively related to indicators of psychological stress and depression.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation