Influence of menstrual phase on ventilatory response to submaximal exercise
Objectives. To determine whether an increase in respiratory drive, due to elevated progesterone and oestrogen concentration during various menstrual phases, persists throughout prolonged submaximal exercise and potentially contributes to fatigue. Furthermore, to determine whether the difference in the ventilatory response to exercise from one menstrual phase to another is correlated to the ovarian hormone concentrations. Design. We compared the change in ventilatory parameters during 90 min exercise at 60%VO2max between the early follicular (EF) and mid-luteal (ML) phase (N = 9) and between the EF and late follicular (LF) phase (N = 5) in eumenorrhoeic women. Main outcome measures. Menstrual phase comparisons and correlations between the change in ventilatory parameters (minute ventilation (VE), respiratory rate (RR), tidal volume) from the EF to ML or from the EF to LF phase and ovarian hormone concentration. Results. The difference in RR between EF and ML phases correlated to progesterone concentration in the ML phase (r = 0.7, p = 0.04). In addition, RR was higher during exercise in the ML compared with EF phase for the full duration of exercise by on average 2.3 ± 2.1 breaths/min (p < 0.05). However, no difference in submaximal VO2 between menstrual phases was evident. No significant difference in exercising-VE was observed between menstrual phases, but the change in VE from EF to ML correlated to oestrogen (r = 0.8, p = 0.02) and progesterone (r = 0.7, p = 0.04) concentration in the ML phase.
South African Journal of Sports Medicine Vol. 18 (2) 2006: pp. 31-37