Effects of transdermal estrogen on body composition in adolescent female athletes
OBJECTIVE. The effect of transdermal estrogen on body composition in adolescent female athletes with oligo-/amenorrhea has yet to be examined. This is important because female amenorrheic atheltes often express a reluctance to take replacement estrogen given concerns that this will cause weight gain and accumulation of body fat. In this study we performed a randomized, placebo-controlled study to examine the effects of transdermal estrogen on body composition parameters, specifically fat mass and lean mass, in this specific population. We hypothesized that body composition does not change in adolescent athletes with oligo-/amenorrhea receiving transdermal estrogen when compared to no estrogen. METHODS. In a cross-sectional study, we examined baseline characteristics of 51 athletes with oligo-/amenorrhea, 24 athletes with eumenorrhea, and 23 non-athlete control subjects. Of the 51 athletes with oligo-/amenorrhea, 11 were randomized to no estrogen and 8 were randomized to receive transdermal estrogen for a period of 6 months. Changes in body composition parameters were assessed. Subjects were 14 to 21 years of age. RESULTS. Athletes with oligo-/amenorrhea had lower weight, BMI, fat mass, lean mass, trunk fat, and % body fat when compared with athletes with eumenorrhea and non-athlete controls at baseline. Athletes with oligo-/amenorrhea randomized to transdermal estrogen (OAM E+) did not differ from athletes randomized to placebo (OAM E-) after 6 months for changes in weight, BMI, fat mass, or lean mass. CONCLUSIONS. Our results support our hypothesis that transdermal estrogen does not change body composition parameters in adolescent athletes with oligo-/amenorrhea. After assessing our data we believe further studies are necessary to determine the effects transdermal estrogen in this subset of athletes.
Thesis (M.A.)--Boston University