NO! Skipped menstrual periods commonly mean you are restricting your food intake and have a significant calorie imbalance...
At the American College of Sports Medicine’s recent convention in Denver (June 2011), researchers reported that among 44 female high school (16 y.o.) cross-country runners--
• 39% restricted food, thinking being lighter would help them perform better.
• 42% reported missed or absent menstrual periods in the past year.
The amenorrheic runners were eight times more likely to believe missing multiple periods was a sign they were in better shape. These young women need to be educated about the medical problems associated with missed menstrual periods! Amenorrhea is a sign they are jeopardizing their health. They are losing bone density and at three to four times risk for stress fractures today, followed by early osteoporosis in the future, and potential difficulty getting pregnant when they decide they want to conceive a child.
To resume menses, amenorrheic women need to correct the energy deficit by eating a little more fuel and exercising a little less. The amenorrheic high school runners who drank a 360-calorie carbohydrate-protein supplement resumed menses, on average, in about 2.5 months (±2 months). The longer they had been amenorrheic, the more time they needed to resume menses.
• If you need help balancing food, exercise, and weight, consult with a sports dietitian.
--To find your local expert, use the referral network at www.SCANdpg.org.
--For written information, read the chapter on "Dieting Gone Awry" in my Sports Nutrition Guidebook.
Be wise, eat well, and enjoy lifelong good health!