Contraceptive pill and performance

  • Creator
  • #49383


    I was hoping for some insight into the impact of the contraceptive pill.
    I often hear discussions about training alongside menstrual cycle but limited about training while on conceptive.

    I am 21 years old and have been on the conceptive pill for 6 years and don’t have a period. The pill has not had any negative impact on me (as far as I know). I have started training for alpinism in the last year.

    Any thoughts/experiences/research on the impact of contraceptive on training?

  • Participant
    LindsayTroy on #49602

    This may be worth posting in the sports med forum? I assume you’re looking for research rather than anecdote

    My non-research backed opinion would be that the reason you hear more about menstrual cycle vs contraceptive is because when you’re on the pill, you have muted hormonal changes throughout the month. Depending on which hormonal birth control you’re on you either have the same hormones all month (minus the period week) or much smaller changes throughout the month. That would lead me to conclude that it would have a similar, but muted, impact to the natural menstrual cycle. But I also think it probably depends a lot on which method you’re on as some methods have much higher hormone levels than others and I would guess that has a big impact.

    Diana on #49800

    Hey there,

    I have replied to this topic twice with relevant resources, once last week and once this week, and neither have posted. I’m wondering if they got screened for some reason?

    Diana on #49726

    Kelly McNulty is doing great work on the topic currently. Unfortunately, as this paper concludes, since this topic has been ignored for so long, there isn’t sufficient research compiled yet, so there are not agreed upon recommendations:

    She also has an Instagram and podcast called “The Period of the Period” educating on the topic of female reproductive physiology in sport.

    One thing to look out for is that if you are on an oral contraceptive and do not have a period, should you develop overtraining syndrome or REDS (relative energy deficiency in sport), you won’t get the first tell tale sign of losing your period. Mina Leslie-Wujastyk is a pro climber who is speaking out about this issue:

    Dr. Stacy Sims, the top expert on female physiology in sport, recommends against oral contraceptives, saying they are risky and may inhibit performance, but again, there is not sufficient research at this time to give proper guidance. Let’s look forward to that changing!

    Reed on #49821

    Thanks, Diana – yes, a spam filter screened your posts, probably because of the links. Should be visible now.

    Anonymous on #50957

    Those resources look great and I’m excited to read them; I can say that while I was on the pill I didn’t see any negative effects (that I could tell at least), but now that I’m not on it, I feel more connected to my body and can tell when I feel stronger because of hormones, and alternatively, worse due to where I am in my cycle. Echoing Lindsay, I would check on what hormones you have, and if you’re curious to not have hormones, there are ways around it! Taking Charge of your Fertility is a really good book that regardless if you plan on going off of the pills, does an excellent job explaining the cycle and what’s going on in our bodies. This may show my age, but is there still a way to get your period? When I was on it there was still a week with sugar pills, so I got my period. I would definitely be cautious if you don’t have it at all, just as Diana said.

    dd7link68 on #56987

    thank you

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