Restricted access

Purchase article

USD $24.95

Student 1 year subscription

USD $107.00

1 year subscription

USD $142.00

Student 2 year subscription

USD $203.00

2 year subscription

USD $265.00

Purpose: Menstruation and menstrual symptoms are commonly cited barriers to physical activity in women. The delay or avoidance of menstruation through extended oral-contraceptive (OC) regimens may mitigate these barriers, yet information on menstrual-manipulation practices in young physically active women is sparse. The objective of this study was to investigate prevalence of, and reasons for, menstrual manipulation with OCs in recreationally and competitively active women. Methods: One hundred ninety-one recreationally active (self-reported moderate to vigorous physical activity 150–300 min/wk) women (age 23 ± 5 y), 160 subelite recreationally active (self-reported moderate to vigorous physical activity >300 min/wk) women (age 23 ± 5 y), and 108 competitive (state-, national- or international-level) female athletes (age 23 ± 4 y) completed a self-administered questionnaire assessing OC-regimen habits and reasons for manipulation of menstruation. Results: The majority (74%) of OC users reported having deliberately manipulated menstruation at least once during the previous year, with 29% reporting having done so at least 4 times. Prevalence of menstrual manipulation (at least once in the previous year) was not different between competitive athletes, subelite recreationally active women, and recreationally active women (77% vs 74% vs 72%; P > .05). The most cited reasons for manipulating menstruation were special events or holidays (rated by 75% as important/very important), convenience (54%), and sport competition (54%). Conclusions: Menstrual manipulation through extended OC regimens is common practice in recreationally and competitively active young women, for a range of reasons relating to convenience that are not limited to physical activity. This strategy may help reduce hormone-related barriers to exercise participation, thereby positively affecting participation and performance.

Schaumberg is with the School of Health and Sports Sciences, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, QLD, Australia. Emmerton is with the School of Pharmacy, Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia. Jenkins and Skinner are with the School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD, Australia. Burton is with the School of Applied Psychology, Griffith University, Mount Gravatt, QLD, Australia. Janse de Jonge is with the School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle, Ourimbah, NSW, Australia.

Schaumberg (m.schaumberg@uq.edu.au) is corresponding author.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Article Sections
References
  • 1.

    Bennell KWhite SCrossley K. The oral contraceptive pill: a revolution for sportswomen? Br J Sports Med. 1999;33:231238. PubMed doi:10.1136/bjsm.33.4.231

  • 2.

    Greig AJPalmer MAChepulis LM. Hormonal contraceptive practises in young Australian women (≤25 years) and their possible impact on menstrual frequency and iron requirements. Sex Reprod Healthc. 2010;1(3):99103. PubMed doi:10.1016/j.srhc.2010.06.001

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 3.

    Edelman AMicks EGallo MFJensen JTGrimes DA. Continuous or extended cycle vs. cyclic use of combined hormonal contraceptives for contraception. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;(7):CD004695. PubMed doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004695.pub3

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4.

    Sulak PJCressman BEWaldrop EHolleman SKuehl TJ. Extending the duration of active oral contraceptive pills to manage hormone withdrawal symptoms. Obstet Gynecol. 1997;89(2):179183. PubMed doi:10.1016/S0029-7844(96)00488-7

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5.

    Sulak PJScow RDPreece CRiggs MWKuel TJ. Hormone withdrawal symptoms in oral contraceptive users. Obstet Gynecol. 2000;95(2):261266. PubMed

  • 6.

    Schneider MBFisher MFriedman SBBijur PEToffler AP. Menstrual and premenstrual issues in female military cadets: a unique population with significant concerns. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 1999;12(4):195201. PubMed doi:10.1016/S1083-3188(99)00025-X

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 7.

    Powell-Dunford NCuda ASMoore JLCrago MSDeuster PA. Menstrual suppression using oral contraceptives: survey of deployed female aviation personnel. Aviat Space Environ Med. 2009;80(11):971975. PubMed doi:10.3357/ASEM.2566.2009

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8.

    Powell-Dunford NCCuda ASMoore JLCrago MSKelly AMDeuster PA. Menstrual suppression for combat operations: advantages of oral contraceptive pills. Womens Health Issues. 2011;21(1):8691. PubMed doi:10.1016/j.whi.2010.08.006

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 9.

    Rosenberg MJMeyers ARoy V. Efficacy, cycle control, and side effects of low- and lower-dose oral contraceptives: a randomized trial of 20 μg and 35 μg estrogen preparations. Contraception. 1999;60(6):321329. PubMed doi:10.1016/S0010-7824(99)00109-2

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10.

    Lakehomer HKaplan PFWozniak DGMinson CT. Characteristics of scheduled bleeding manipulation with combined hormonal contraception in university students. Contraception. 2013;88(3):426430. PubMed doi:10.1016/j.contraception.2012.12.012

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11.

    Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian health survey: physical activity; 2011–12http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4364.0.55.004main+features12011-12. Accessed May 8 2016.

    • Export Citation
  • 12.

    Hicks CWRome ES. Menstrual manipulation: options for suppressing the cycle. Cleve Clin J Med. 2010;77(7):445453. PubMed doi:10.3949/ccjm.77a.09128

  • 13.

    Tantbirojn PTaneepanichskul S. Clinical comparative study of oral contraceptives containing 30 μg ethinylestradiol/150 μg levonorgestrel, and 35 μg ethinylestradiol/250 μg norgestimate in thai women. Contraception. 2002;66(6):401405. PubMed doi:10.1016/S0010-7824(02)00393-1

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 14.

    Hillard PA. Menstrual suppression: current perspectives. Int J Womens Health. 2014;6:631637. PubMed doi:10.2147/IJWH.S46680

  • 15.

    Dougherty PL. Menstrual suppression: benefits and risks of continuous combined oral contraceptives. Nurs Womens Health. 2008;12(3):243248. PubMed doi:10.1111/j.1751-486X.2008.00330.x

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 16.

    Archer DF. Menstrual-cycle-related symptoms: a review of the rationale for continuous use of oral contraceptives. Contraception. 2006;74:359366. PubMed doi:10.1016/j.contraception.2006.06.003

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
Article Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 225 225 55
Full Text Views 15 15 10
PDF Downloads 8 8 5
Altmetric Badge
PubMed
Google Scholar
Cited By