Send to

Choose Destination
J Athl Train. 2002 Sep;37(3):275-278.

The Menstrual Cycle, Sex Hormones, and Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury.

Author information

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX.



To determine if anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries in female athletes occur randomly or correlate with a specific phase of the menstrual cycle.


Female athletes who sustained ACL injuries reported the days of their menstrual cycles and provided saliva samples for sex-hormone determination. Salivary sex-hormone profiles were assessed to confirm the self-reported menstrual histories.


A total of 38 female athletes (20 college, 15 high school, 1 middle school, 2 recreational) with recent ACL injuries participated in the study over a 3-year period.


Athletes with recent ACL injuries completed a questionnaire defining the injury, the last menstrual cycle, prior knee injury, school, and type of birth control used (if any). Each subject provided a 30-cc saliva sample within 72 hours of injury. Saliva samples were placed into sealed containers and frozen at -20 degrees C. We obtained 13 additional control samples from uninjured females to test the correlation between saliva and serum sex-hormone levels. Progesterone and estrogen were assayed by radioimmunoassay. Physical examination, magnetic resonance imaging, or surgery confirmed the injury in all subjects.


The correlations between saliva and serum estrogen and progesterone were 0.73 (alpha =.01) and 0.72 (alpha =.01), respectively. Ten of 27 athletes who reported their cycle day at time of injury sustained an ACL injury immediately before or 1 to 2 days after the onset of menses. We rejected the null hypothesis that such high frequency was due to random chance.


A significantly greater number of ACL injuries occurred on days 1 and 2 of the menstrual cycle. Salivary sex-hormone levels correlated with the reported cycle day.


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center