Hormonal-based contraception and the exercising female
‘Hormonal contraceptives’ is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of brands, preparations/types (e.g., combined, mono-/bi-/tri-phasic, progesterone-only), and delivery methods (e.g., oral pills, injections, implants, and patches), which affect the endocrine regulation of the female reproductive system. The primary aim of all hormonal contraceptives is to prevent pregnancy, and secondary benefits include the alleviation of several medical conditions such as dysmenorrhoea (pain associated with menstruation), menorrhagia (heavy menstruation), premenstrual tension, and a reduced risk of symptomatic fibroids, functional ovarian cysts, ovarian and endometrial cancer, and pelvic inflammatory disease. In this chapter, the self-reported prevalence and perceived side effects of hormonal contraceptive use are presented, alongside previous experimental research on the effects of hormonal contraceptives on exercise performance and components of performance. Critical evaluation of the literature is provided, and recommendations for future research and practical guidance on hormonal contraceptives are given.