Effects of Female Reproductive Hormones on Sports Performance

  • Constance M. LebrunEmail author
  • Sarah M. Joyce
  • Naama W. Constantini
Part of the Contemporary Endocrinology book series (COE)


Women of reproductive age experience regular physical changes in their bodies due to hormonal alterations during the course of their ovulatory menstrual cycles, as well as during pregnancy and with the administration of oral contraceptive pills. The variations in endogenous and exogenous levels of estrogen and progesterone have the potential to affect sports performance through several possible mechanisms: changes in energy/fuel sources; effects on various components of physical fitness, body temperature control, and fluid retention; psychological changes; and, finally, changes in the risks of certain injuries. Existing studies in this important area have used many different methodologies to assess and characterize both menstrual cycle phase and aspects of physical fitness and sports performance. Based on the evidence to date, it can be recommended that athletes and coaches monitor each female athlete’s individual responses to these potential periodic perturbations in physical performance during training and competition. Oral contraceptives can also have some independent effects depending on the formulation used. In certain cases, it may be advantageous to utilize these medications to manipulate the menstrual cycle around important competitions.


Anterior cruciate ligament Menstrual cycle Luteal phase Anterior cruciate ligament injury Follicular phase 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Constance M. Lebrun
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sarah M. Joyce
    • 2
  • Naama W. Constantini
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Family Medicine, Level 2, Kaye Edmonton Clinic, Glen Sather Sports Medicine ClinicUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Griffith Health InstituteGold CoastAustralia
  3. 3.Heidi Rothberg Sport Medicine Center, Department of Sport MedicineShaare Zedek Medical Center Jerusalem, affiliated with the Hebrew University School of MedicineJerusalemIsrael

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