New research in the Journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, investigated the menstrual cycle and oral contraceptive use on growth hormone levels in sprinting female athletes. Researchers examined the impact of the menstrual cycle and oral contraceptive use on the growth hormone response to a sprinting activity on a treadmill. Researchers assessed 9 oral contraceptive users and 8 normally menstruating athletes, for 2 trials of treadmill sprints. Measures were taken examining growth hormone, pH, lactate, glucose, and progesterone levels.
Researchers found that power output was not significantly different between the 2 groups during their menstrual cycle. However, researchers found the measurements of growth hormone levels were significantly greater in group of subjects taking oral contraceptives, than in the control group. These results indicated that female athletes who take oral contraceptive pills, could have a significantly higher growth hormone response to sprint running than normally menstruating female athletes.