The role of endogenous opiates in athletic amenorrhea

M. H. Samuels, C. F. Sanborn, F. Hofeldt, R. Robbins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


We hypothesized that menstrual disturbances in female athletes arise from opioid-induced abnormalities in gonadotropin and/or prolactin (PRL) secretion. To investigate this hypothesis, we measured luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and PRL levels in eumenorrheic and amenorrheic athletes during thyrotropin-releasing hormone and gonadotropin-releasing hormone tests at baseline, after naloxone infusions, after exercise to exhaustion, and after similar exercise during naloxone infusions. Contrary to our hypothesis, amenorrheic runners did not have significant alterations in basal, postexercise, or stimulated hormone levels compared with eumenorrheic runners. In addition, opioid blockade by naloxone did not enhance gonadotropin release by amenorrheic athletes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-512
Number of pages6
JournalFertility and sterility
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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