Ovarian hormonal responses to exercise
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The effects of exercise on estradiol, progesterone, follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH) were studied in nine healthy females. Subjects were studied during light, heavy, and exhaustive exercise in the midfollicular and midluteal portions of their menstrual cycles. Resting hormone levels followed the expected pattern. Increases in estradiol and progesterone occurred at all intensities of exercise in the luteal phase but only in estradiol at exhaustion in the follicular phase. LH was unchanged with exercise in either phase and FSH increased in the follicular phase but not in the luteal phase. We conclude that exercise is a physiological stimulus to elevations in plasma estradiol, progesterone, and FSH, but not LH. The elevations are more marked in the luteal phase for the steroids and in the follicular phase for FSH. Increases in estradiol and progesterone are related to the intensity of exercise and appear to be independent of pituitary control.
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