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Oral contraceptives, exercise, and acute mountain sickness in women

, : Oral contraceptives, exercise, and acute mountain sickness in women. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine 72(8): 733-738

Background: Previous research has found that exercise exacerbated acute mountain sickness (AMS) in men. Purpose: The current study tested this relationship in women taking oral contraceptives. Methods: We studied seven women at 428 mmHg for 10 h; once while at rest (R) and once while performing intermittent exercise (EX). Results: AMS scores had a slight increase at 9 vs. 0 h at altitude in both trials (p < 0.05). Resting measurements of ventilation (VE), arterial oxygen saturation (SpO2), end tidal O2 (Peto2), and end tidal CO2 (Petco2) were not different over time or between trials (p > 0.05). While fluid intake did not change, urine output increased during the 0-3 h period, regardless of trial, and returned to baseline values by the 6-9 h period (218 +- 37 vs. 121 +- 22 ml cntdot h-1; p < 0.05). During exercise, Spo2 significantly dropped compared with similar time points in R (73.1 +- 1.1 vs. 85.7 +- 1.8%; p < 0.05). Despite exercise-induced desaturation, the AMS scores were not significantly different between R and EX. Conclusion: These results suggest that oral contraceptives may cause a compensation for the physiological responses to exercise critical for the development of AMS.


PMID: 11506235

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