Period prevalence and perceived side Effects of hormonal contraceptive use and the menstrual cycle in elite athletes

Martin, D. ORCID: 0000-0001-8431-6659, Sale, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-5816-4169, Cooper, S.B. ORCID: 0000-0001-5219-5020 and Elliott-Sale, K.J. ORCID: 0000-0003-1122-5099, 2018. Period prevalence and perceived side Effects of hormonal contraceptive use and the menstrual cycle in elite athletes. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 13 (7), pp. 926-932. ISSN 1555-0265

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Purpose: To identify the period prevalence of hormonal contraceptive (HC) use and characterise the perceived side effects associated with the menstrual cycle and HC use.

Methods: 430 elite female athletes completed a questionnaire to assess; the period prevalence of HC use, the reasons for initiation and discontinuation of HCs and the side effects experienced by HC and non-HC users. Descriptive statistics, between-group comparisons and associations between categorical variables were calculated.

Results: 49.5% of athletes were currently using HCs and 69.8% had used HCs at some point. Combined oral contraceptives were most commonly used (68.1%), with 30.0% using progestin-only contraceptives (implant = 13.1%; injection = 3.7%; intrauterine system = 2.8%). Perceived negative side effects were more common with progestin-only HC use (39.1%) compared to combined HC use (17.8%; P = 0.001) and were most prevalent in implant users (53.6%; P = 0.004). HC users reported perceived positive side effects relating to the ability to predict and/or manipulate the timing, frequency and amount of menstrual bleeding. Non-HC users had a menstrual cycle length of 29± 5 d and 77.4% reported negative side effects during their menstrual cycle, primarily during days 1-2 of menstruation (81.6%).

Conclusions: Approximately half of elite athletes used HCs and progestin- only contraceptive users reported greater incidences of negative side effects, especially with the implant. Due to the high inter-individual variability in reported side effects, athletes and practitioners should maintain an open dialogue to pursue the best interests of the athlete.

Item Type: Journal article
Alternative Title: Hormonal contraceptive use in athletes [running head]
Publication Title: International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Creators: Martin, D., Sale, C., Cooper, S.B. and Elliott-Sale, K.J.
Publisher: Human Kinetics, Inc
Date: 2018
Volume: 13
Number: 7
ISSN: 1555-0265
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 01 Feb 2018 12:13
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2019 11:45

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