Exercise can offer many health benefits physically and mentally, however when a woman exercises too much her health may actually be negatively affected. Excessive exercise can cause hormonal changes in the body, resulting in amenorrhea-decreased levels of estrogen, causing a woman's menstrual period to disappear.
According to Stanford.edu, estrogen levels in the blood become lower when a woman participates in extremely vigorous exercise on a regular basis. A study indicated that marathon-training for some women led to a decrease in estrogen by more than 50 percent. Healthy amounts of estrogen are produced when a woman's body experiences normal menstrual periods. When a woman experiences amenorrhea for an extensive period of time, estrogen production is diminished. It has been found that excessive exercise can result in estrogen levels that are too low, which can reduce bone density, a precursor to the potential development of osteoporosis. It may also result in low bone strength (osteopenia), which increases the risk for stress fractures.
Fortunately, if you are experiencing amenorrhea brought on by excessive exercise, you may be able to reverse the situation. Reducing your exercise regimen can make way for your estrogen to begin to rise to a healthier level. If restricted food intake has been part of your health routine, reconsider your previous limitations.
Bone Health in Highly Trained Female Athletes. Stanford.edu. Retrieved Oct. 30, 2011.
Menstruation - absent.Nlm.nih.gov. Updated June 16, 2010. Retrieved Oct. 30, 2011.
Female Athletes: Health Problems Caused by Extreme Exercise and Dieting. Orthoinfo.aaos.org. Reviewed October, 2009. Retrieved Oct. 30, 2011.