Elevated testosterone and hypergonadotropism in active adolescents of normal weight with oligomenorrhea.J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2009 Oct; 22(5):323-7.JP
Oligomenorrhea in active adolescent females of normal weight is presumed to be related to hypoestrogenism secondary to physical activity and decreased fat mass. We hypothesized that active adolescents with oligomenorrhea would have lower estrogen levels than normal controls with similar levels of cardiovascular fitness.
Twenty healthy participants between the ages of 16 and 20 years were recruited at least 2 years postmenarche. Adolescents reporting fewer than 9 cycles a year (n = 6) were compared to 14 controls with monthly menstrual cycles. Histories of eating disorder, hirsutism, severe acne, depression, or amenorrhea were cause for exclusion.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Body composition and bone density were measured by total body dual x-ray absorpitometry. Cardiovascular fitness was evaluated by measuring oxygen consumption during exercise. Control subjects were matched by age, body mass index (BMI), and fitness level. Serum luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), testosterone, progesterone, and estradiol were obtained. Statistical analysis was performed using SAS 9.1.
Cardiovascular fitness in both groups was within normal limits for age. No significant differences in BMI, estradiol concentrations, or bone density were found, but trunk fat mass was lower in adolescents with oligomenorrhea who also reported more frequent exercise. Testosterone concentrations and LH/FSH ratios were significantly higher in participants with irregular menstrual cycles (P = 0.0018 and <0.001, respectively).
Adolescents with oligomenorrhea were leaner, yet they had higher testosterone levels and a greater LH/FSH ratio than their BMI-matched, cyclic counterparts. We hypothesize that, in active adolescents of normal weight, elevated androgen and LH concentrations are linked to ovarian dysfunction, which can masquerade as exercise-induced oligomenorrhea.