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The Prevalence and Impact of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding (Menorrhagia) in Elite and Non-Elite Athletes

Bruinvels, G; Burden, R; Brown, N; Richards, T; Pedlar, C; (2016) The Prevalence and Impact of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding (Menorrhagia) in Elite and Non-Elite Athletes. PLoS One , 11 (2) , Article e0149881. 10.1371/journal.pone.0149881. Green open access

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Abstract

To identify the prevalence and impact of heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB) in exercising females where anemia may have a significant effect on training and performance a 'Female Health Questionnaire' was designed incorporating a validated diagnostic HMB series, demographics, exercise ability data, training status, anemia, iron supplementation and whether the menstrual cycle had affected training and performance. The survey was conducted in two stages; initially online, advertised via social media, and then repeated via face-to-face interviews with runners registered for the 2015 London Marathon. 789 participants responded to the online survey, and 1073 completed the survey at the marathon. HMB was reported by half of those online (54%), and by more than a third of the marathon runners (36%). Surprisingly, HMB was also prevalent amongst elite athletes (37%). Overall, 32% of exercising females reported a history of anemia, and 50% had previously supplemented with iron. Only a minority (22%) had sought medical advice. HMB is highly prevalent in exercising females, associated with self-reported anemia, increased use of iron supplementation and a perceived negative impact on performance. Further research is needed to investigate the impact of HMB, iron deficiency and anemia in exercising females.

Type: Article
Title: The Prevalence and Impact of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding (Menorrhagia) in Elite and Non-Elite Athletes
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149881
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0149881
Language: English
Additional information: © 2016 Bruinvels et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci > Department of Targeted Intervention
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology > MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1482025
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