Price of Beauty

Hypothalamic amenorrhea is lurking in sports where weight is a deal breaker

Price of Beauty. Healthy Living Magazine”

Price of Beauty. Healthy Living Magazine”

Ballet, figure skating, rhythmic gymnastics, ski jumping require certain, and, for many, extreme weight of a dancer or an athlete as a fundamental prerequisite to performance and even basic safety.

Technical advances already have brought skaters to the point where quadruple revolution jumps are turning into a norm, soon even for ladies, it seems, and such advances weed out corpulent ones from a remote proximity of a podium. But the disorders that can result seem to disproportionately affect female athletes. The reigning Olympic and world champion and record holder, Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, conscious about the help his jumps are getting from his lithe frame of 5’7” on 110 pounds, modestly answers recurrent questions: “I am just not interested in food.” and doesn’t appear to have any problems with his extremely low percentage of body fat.

The reigning Olympic and World champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan is considered a Mozart of figure skating with his wide range of divine quadruple jumps and unique musicality.

In rhythmic gymnastics the famed Russian coach Irina Viner-Usmanova admits her gymnasts dread the mandatory pre-training weighing: if a 5’8” teen exceeds a threshold of 115 pounds, she is not allowed to practice jumps. Otherwise a girl is risking injuring her feet, Viner-Usmanova says.

Read: The Great Yuzu is even greater in fiasco

Selected Olympic-size talent comes to live for free on a gymnastics sport base outside Moscow. The base is equipped to the teeth to make the prodigies flourish—from catering and school study to a battalion of coaches, doctors and specialists with procedures designed for the specifics of the sport. The girls pay back big though—with a decades-long world dominance of a magnificent squad and an abundance of role-model characters.

But unless you are supported by a 14-billion-dollar-worth spouse, as Viner-Usmanova is, you might not have at your disposal an incubator with a professional supervision and informed sports management in place, so an American talent with an ambition for a podium and just mom, dad and an overwhelmed coach to back them up, may become prey for the condition called hypothalamic amenorrhea that causes them to stop menstruating and raises the risk of other health problems such as bone loss, stress fractures and osteoporosis. The Endocrine Society has issued guidelines on ways to recognizing and treating this condition.

Adolescent girls and women with low body weight, body fat, calorie or fat intake combined with emotional stress are likely to suffer from this condition. The report specifies: ballet dancers, figure skaters, runners and others who burn more calories through exercise than they consume in their diet.

An overly decorated rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabaeva is humbled by being only the 2nd best in history with her 2 Olympic medals, 14 World Championships and 25 European Championships medals.

Hypothalamus Shortage

Price of Beauty. Healthy Living Magazine

Price of Beauty. Healthy Living Magazine

When girls suffer hypothalamic amenorrhea, the hypothalamus in the brain slows or stops releasing GnRH , the hormone that controls the menstrual cycle.

Read: Editor's Letter

The condition “typically requires behavioral modifications,” said Catherine M. Gordon of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the chair of the task force that authored the guideline. “Referring patients to a nutritionist for specialized dietary instructions is an extremely important part of their care. Menstrual cycles can often be restored with increased calorie consumption, improved nutrition or decreased exercise activity.”


• Discuss with a doctor weight limitations, requirements of your sport and the athlete’s health status. Make it a routine.
• Check levels of hormones including estrogen, thyroid hormones and prolactin.
• Be wary of abnormally slow heart rate, low blood pressure or an electrolyte imbalance.
• Talk to your coach about adding to the team a nutritionist.
• Educate yourself about intakes of proteins, fats, sugars, vitamins, supplements and fluids and their role in preventing injuries and diseases.

comments powered by Disqus