Elite sport. How intense physical exercise impairs fertility I Fertty
Elite sport. How intense physical exercise impairs fertility

Elite sport. How intense physical exercise impairs fertility

By Reproclinic Editorial Committee

Playing sports is good not only for health but also for fertility. But when the level of demand for the body increases, and it is high intensity sport or elite fertility, both female and male can be affected.


To do exercise moderately and according to the physical abilities that each one has, is the best for health. This, accompanied by a balanced diet and good habits such as not smoking or drinking, are actions that help fertility.


However, if the intensity of the sport increases and, therefore, the body is forced to maintain a rhythm and a requirement that is not optimal, there may be consequences such as the loss of menstruation. This is called amenorrhea.


Disappearance of the cycle


Amenorrhea is the loss of the menstrual cycle over a long period of time. It manifests itself, especially in women who practice high intensity or elite sports (since they require a high energy consumption) and who have low body weight, as well as fat.


This happens because the excess physical exercise is related to hormonal imbalances. In the case of women it causes an alteration of ovulation and in the case of men it causes a sperm condition.


The athletes who have more options to suffer from this anomaly are those who practice ballet, rhythmic gymnastics, figure skating, swimming, cycling or middle and long distance runners.




Amenorrhea can cause other health problems such as bone loss and increased risk of early osteoporosis. This is due to the low levels of estrogen and progesterone, which impair the proper functioning of the osteocytes.


In addition, amenorrhea is also responsible for low hormonal levels and can take its toll on athletes. Why? Because there is an increasingly risk of fracture injury, caused by this loss of bone mass that we mentioned earlier. For this reason, injuries take longer than usual to heal.


And not only that, this prolonged loss of the cycle in athletes also generates a loss of elasticity in the ligaments; fact that can cause more chances of having an injury.




The athletes who are most likely to suffer from amenorrhea are those who practice sports associated with low body weight, as we have seen. So, one of the things that a woman who has amenorrhea should do for more than six months, is to go to the doctor. Typically, experts agree on the following treatment indications:

-Recover the optimal weight

-Change in intensity and volume of workouts

-Use of nutritional supplements


Can I get pregnant if I have amenorrhea?


This is the question asked not only by high-intensity and elite athletes, but all women in general who suffer from amenorrhea and are of childbearing age is whether they can get pregnant.


To answer this question it is important to recap. In order for a woman to become pregnant, fertilization of an egg by a sperm is necessary. But if the ovulation process does not take place and, therefore, there is no menstruation, it is complicated that there is a pregnancy without ovulation.


However, it should be noted that the fact of not having the period does not mean that there can be no pregnancy. For this reason it is important to know the reason why amenorrhea occurs, so that experts can offer appropriate indications and treatments so that the menstrual cycle returns to normal


If you have any questions, contact us, we will be happy to assist you!


Published by Dr Maria Arqué

Medical Director at Reproclinic
Specialist in Obstetrics/Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine