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Did My Period Stop Because of Too Much Exercise?

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I exercise about 2 hours a day every day. In the last 2 months I've lost 26 pounds, but my period is gone. What should I do?
- Samantha*

It's not surprising you're not having your period after such rapid weight loss. Two hours of exercise a day can add up to a lot of calories burned, which means that you need to take in more calories than when you were not as active. Exercising a lot and losing weight quickly can cause your period to stop, especially if you're not getting enough calories and healthy foods.

Unfortunately, some girls who exercise a lot also develop unhealthy eating habits. This combination of poor diet and intense exercise can have unhealthy consequences, including nutritional deficiencies, fatigue, loss of lean body mass, and amenorrhea (no periods). Amenorrhea is a sign that other things might be going on as well, such as bone loss. This can increase risk of fractures now and osteoporosis in the future.

Some girls who play sports or exercise intensely are at risk for a problem called female athlete triad, which is is a combination of three conditions: disordered eating, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis. A female athlete can have one, two, or all three parts of the triad.

Work with your doctor to get back on track with healthy eating and exercising. Your doctor may ask you to increase your calories and decrease your workouts to get your body and your cycle back on track.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: August 2010

* Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses and treatment, consult your doctor.

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