Temperature regulation during exercise in the cold was examined in 13 adolescent female individuals, aged 13-18 yr. Six girls with established menstrual cycles comprised the eumenorrheic menarcheal (EM) group, and seven nonmenstruating girls comprised the premenarcheal (PM) group. During the first visit, maximal oxygen consumption (Vo2 max), height, weight, and percent body fat were measured. The second visit included a determination of metabolic rate in thermoneutrality (21°C), consisting of a 10-min rest period and 20 min of cycling (30% of Vo2 max), and a cold test (5°C, 40% humidity, <0.3 m/s air velocity) involving a 20-min rest period and 40 min of cycling (30% of Vo2 max). Subjects in the EM group were tested twice in the chamber: once during the follicular and once during the luteal phase. Heat production per kilogram in thermoneutrality and in the cold was significantly (P < 0.05) higher in the PM compared with the EM girls. However, the PM girls had a significantly (P < 0.05) lower core temperature in the cold than the EM group. PM girls also had a significantly higher body surface area-to-mass ratio compared with the EM girls. Although percent body fat between groups was not significantly different, within the PM group percent body fat explained 79% (P < 0.01) of the variance in the decrease of core temperature. There were no menstrual phase-related differences in temperature regulation in either the thermoneutral or cold environment. In conclusion, menstrual phase does not influence temperature regulation in female individuals during adolescence. EM girls had lower metabolic heat production but maintained their core temperature more effectively in the cold than did the PM girls. This thermoregulatory difference between PM and EM girls is mainly a function of geometric differences with maturation-related peripheral vasoconstrictive differences maybe limiting the effectiveness of the mechanism of increased heat storage in younger female individuals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physiology (medical)