Purpose: To investigate the effect of menstrual cycle states on ovarian and anabolic hormonal responses to acute resistance exercise in young women.
Methods: Eight healthy women (eumenorrhea; EM) and eight women with menstrual disorders including oligomenorrhea and amenorrhea (OAM) participated in this study. The EM group performed acute resistance exercises during the early follicular (EF) and midluteal (ML) phases, and the OAM group performed the same exercises. All subjects performed three sets each of lat pull-downs, leg curls, bench presses, leg extensions, and squats at 75%-80% of one-repetition maximum with a 1-min rest between sets. Blood samples were obtained before exercise, immediately after, 30 min after, and 60 min after the exercise.
Results: In the EM group, resting serum levels of estradiol and progesterone in the ML phase were higher than those in the EF phase and higher than those in the OAM group. Serum estradiol and progesterone in the ML phase increased after the exercise but did not change in the EF phase or in the OAM group. In contrast, resting levels of testosterone in the OAM group were higher than those in both the ML and EF phases of the EM group. After the exercise, serum growth hormone increased in both the ML and EF phases but did not change in the OAM group.
Conclusions: The responses of anabolic hormones to acute resistance exercise are different among the menstrual cycle states in young women. Women with menstrual disturbances with low estradiol and progesterone serum levels have an attenuated anabolic hormone response to acute resistance exercise, suggesting that menstrual disorders accompanying low ovarian hormone levels may affect exercise-induced change in anabolic hormones in women.