It's been known for a while that women who train hard suffer from a syndrome known as 'female athletic triad' - menstrual dysfunction, low bone mass and a deficiency in energy - but a new report suggests that it may be far more extensive a problem than was first thought.
Amenorrhea, or lack of a period, occurs in around 2 per cent of the general population, but in 44 per cent of female athletes. Other menstrual disturbances occur in 80 per cent of women who train hard.
Women who are most at risk are those in 'lightweight' sports, such as distance running, gymnastics and rowing, and whose training regime may involve running up to 50 miles a week.
(Source: British Medical Journal, 2007; 334: 164-5).
E-news broadcast 1 February 2007 No.330 [Subscribe]