A Swedish scientist has revealed that female athletes can be helped by the presence of a menstrual disorder affecting the ovaries.
Magnus Hagmar, of the Karolinska Institute, Sweden, said that polycystic ovary syndrome might be the cause of either no periods or irregular periods among athletes, which otherwise is often believed to be due to tough training sessions and restricted diets.
Advertisement"This raises male sex hormone levels and may help sufferers in sport," BBC quoted him as saying.
Polycystic ovaries were found in 37 pct of the athletes training for Olympics, as compared with the average woman.
It was common among women involved in 'power sports' such as ice hockey and wrestling.
"What we're dealing with is just a tiny increase in levels, which can make it easier for the women to build muscle mass and absorb oxygen," he said
"This means that they might have got quicker results from their training and therefore been encouraged to train harder and more often," he added.
However, Professor Stephen Franks, an expert on reproductive biology from Imperial College London found the study quite interesting but said that it did not provide evidence that polycystic ovaries were responsible for menstrual disorders in athletes.
"It's pretty well established that, at least in endurance athletes, such as marathon runners, menstrual disorders are related to the effect of heavy exercise on the pituitary gland," said Franks.
"It is possible that in 'power' sports that women who generally have slightly higher levels of testosterone may be better off," he added.