The effect of the menstrual cycle and oral contraceptive cycle on muscle performance and perceptual measures

Belinda M. Thompson*, Kaitlyn B. Drover, Rhiannon J. Stellmaker, Dean V. Sculley, Xanne A. K. Janse de Jonge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Most reproductive-aged women are exposed to fluctuating female steroid hormones due to the menstrual cycle or oral contraceptive use. This study investigated the potential effect of the menstrual cycle and combined monophasic oral contraceptive cycle on various aspects of muscle performance. Thirty active females (12 with a natural menstrual cycle, 10 taking a high-androgenicity oral contraceptive and 8 taking a low-androgenicity oral contraceptive), aged 18 to 30 years, were tested three times throughout one menstrual or oral contraceptive cycle. Counter-movement jumps, bilateral hop jumps, handgrip strength, isometric knee extensor strength and isokinetic knee flexion and extension were assessed. Perceptual ratings of fatigue, muscle soreness, pain and mood were recorded. Most variables showed no significant changes over the menstrual or oral contraceptive cycle. However, for the menstrual cycle group, isokinetic knee flexion at 240° s−1, and time of flight in bilateral hopping and counter movement jumps showed better results during the mid-luteal phase compared with the late follicular phase. For the high-androgenicity oral contraceptive group, isokinetic knee flexion at 240° s−1 was significantly higher in the late hormone phase compared with the early hormone phase. For the low-androgenicity oral contraceptive group, time of flight for the counter-movement jumps was lower in the late hormone phase compared with the early hormone phase. The findings indicate that faster and explosive aspects of muscle performance may be influenced by endogenous and exogenous female hormones.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10565
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number20
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • estrogen
  • progesterone
  • menstrual cycle
  • monophasic oral contraceptives
  • androgenicity
  • muscle strength
  • muscle power
  • muscle soreness

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