Thursday, July 10, 2008

Female Triathlete? You Need Birth Control!

Female runner

Ok, so maybe you don't if, say, you're trying to get pregnant. But there are two very important reasons you should be on birth control if you're a competitive female triathlete (this means you Ironwomen!):

1. You can pretty much guarantee Mother Nature won't be delivering an unwanted gift right before your "A" race...or any other races you have this year.


2. Your bones need the estrogen.

osteoporotic bone

If reason number one doesn't already have you signing up for The Pill, reason number 2 should get your attention.

If you're a competitive athlete, chances are you're training a lot. Like up to 20 hours a week during your peak phase of Ironman training. And chances are your affinity for chocolate cake and anything else densely calorific just won't keep enough body fat on your seemingly strong, lean, athlete's body to ensure you have the ideal estrogen levels to keep a regular period. In fact, a Stanford study states that "healthy women who began training for a marathon reduced their estrogen levels by over 50%"!

Without estrogen, your bones will rapidly deteriorate. And no amount of weight training, an activity routinely suggested to up your bone density, can fix it.

If you're already experienced the loss of some bone density, don't panic! The sooner you detect it, the sooner you can take steps to halt the deterioration. In fact, if it hasn't been too long, you may even be able to build your bones back up--with birth control pills! The pills contain that bone-loving hormone your ridiculous training has sucked from your body: estrogen.

girl power swim cap

So if you've been without your female friend for a little while now, and have probably been thinking it's a blessing it went away, think again and see your doctor ASAP. Discuss hormone therapy with her, because stopping your training (the other option) probably isn't really an option to you.


BONUS: Pills like Seasonale allow you to take pills for 3 months straight, so you only have a period 4x/year, and they also come in generic options.

Happy non-osteoporotic training!

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