Oligo-amenorrheic long-distance runners may lose more bone in spine than in femur


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Abstract

GREMION, G., R. RIZZOLI, D. SLOSMAN, G. THEINTZ, and J-P. BONJOUR. Oligo-amenorrheic long-distance runners may lose more bone in spine than in femur. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 33, No. 1, 2001, pp. 15–21. Purpose:Strenuous training can be associated with amenorrhea leading to amenorrhea-related accelerated bone loss. Insufficient calorie energy, calcium, and/or protein intakes can also be frequently encountered in women with intense training, possibly contributing to bone loss. Long-distance runners with or without regular menses (age range 19-37 yr) were prospectively studied. Methods:Changes in areal bone mineral density (BMD) were measured at 1-yr interval. Results:Among 10 eumenorrheic, 11 oligo-amenorrheic, and 9 oral contraceptive users, there was no difference in energy, calcium, or protein intakes. Baseline BMD values were significantly lower in the oligo-amenorrheic group than in the two others at the level of lumbar spine (anteroposterior view: 0.941 ± 0.039 in oligo-amenorrheic vs 1.077 ± 0.029 or 1.051 ± 0.017 g·cm-2, P < 0.005, in the eumenorrheic and contraceptive user groups, respectively) but not in weight-bearing bone such as proximal and midshaft femur. Over a 1-yr interval, during which the three groups did not differ in terms of running distances and dietary intakes, oligo-amenorrheic women displayed a significant decrease in lumbar spine BMD in lateral view (−0.049 ± 0.012 in oligo-amenorrheic vs -0.001 ± 0.013 and 0.014 ± 0.012 g·cm-2, P < 0.005, in the eumenorrheic and contraceptive user groups, respectively). We did not detect any significant change in femoral neck, trochanter, or midshaft BMD. Conclusions:Oligo-amenorrhea in long-distance runners, with adequate dietary intakes, was associated with a decrease in BMD affecting more the lumbar spine than the proximal and midshaft femur during a 1-yr follow-up.

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