High Incidence of Negative Side Effects with Progestin-only Hormonal Contraceptive Use in Elite Athletes

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High Incidence of Negative Side Effects with Progestin-only Hormonal Contraceptive Use in Elite Athletes

According to a recent study published in "Human Kinetics Journal," the majority of the elite athletes use hormonal contraceptives (HC). The study also reported the high incidence of side effects in the progestin-only contraceptive users, especially with the implant. Daniel Martin and colleagues conducted the present study to assess the period prevalence of HC use and define the observed side effects linked with the menstrual cycle and HC use.

To identify 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, 430 elite female athletes completed a questionnaire. Descriptive statistics, intergroup comparisons, and the relationship between categorical variables were calculated.

Out of the total athletes included in the study, 49.5% were using HCs at that time, and 69.8% had used HCs at some point. Combined oral contraceptives were most regularly used (68.1%), with 30.0% using progestin-only contraceptives (implant = 13.1%, injection = 3.7%, and intrauterine system = 2.8%). Progestin-only HC users reported greater negative side effects (39.1%) as compared to the combined-HC use (17.8%) and were most prevalent in implant users (53.6%; P = .004). The positive side effects were reported by HC users relating to their capacity to predict and/or manipulate the frequency, time and amount of menstrual bleeding. The average menstrual cycle length in non-HC users was found to be 29 (5) d and 77.4% reported negative side effects during their menstrual cycle, mainly during days 1–2 of menstruation (81.6%).

The women who used contraceptive implants exhibited more complications as compared to others. Therefore, the physicians and athletes have to keep an open dialogue to proceed best interests of the athlete. 


Human Kinetics Journals           



The original title of the article:

Period Prevalence and Perceived Side Effects of Hormonal Contraceptive Use and the Menstrual Cycle in Elite Athletes


Daniel Martin et al.

Therapeutic, Hormonal contraceptives, Safety
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