Research News

Is concussion associated with abnormal menstrual patterns in young women?

July, 2017    |

An article published by JAMA Pediatrics suggests that concussion is associated with the increased risk of abnormal menstrual bleeding patterns.

The study, which looked at 130 girls and young women, was conducted by Anthony P. Kontos, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program, Pennsylvania. Coauthors also include women ages 12 to 21 with a sports-related concussion or another sports-related orthopedic injury for comparison.

Over the research period, individuals were followed up for 120 days after injury, with menstrual patterns being assessed via a text message link to an online survey.
The study found that in the patients studied with concussion, 23.5 per cent experienced two or more abnormal menstrual patterns during the study, while only 5 per cent of patients with orthopedic injuries saw abnormalities.

This suggests that subtle forms of brain injury, like concussion, may affect HPO [hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian] axis function, which assists with menstruation.

“We recommend monitoring menstrual patterns after concussion,” says the study. “Larger studies with hormonal assessments and long-term follow-up are needed to better understand the effect of concussion on the HPO axis and potential implications for menstrual patterns, estrogen production and any persistent consequences.”