Hormonal variations influence on heat loss and pacing in female cyclists

Inquiry into thermoregulatory function in women has been prompted by the emergence of women in military, industrial, and athletic settings where significant heat stresses may occur. The cyclical fluctuations in reproductive hormones observed in menstruating females is of particular interest due to their important implications on temperature regulation responses. The menstrual cycle has been shown to affect females’ unconscious control of deep body temperature (autonomic regulation). How these hormones influence female’s conscious temperature regulation, termed behavioural thermoregulation, is less clear. Further investigation may inform strategies to optimise athletic and occupational performance in hot climates and/or highlight specific menstrual phases when women are at increased risk of heat illness.

This project aims to determine the extent to which different menstrual phases effect autonomic and behavioural temperature regulation during prolonged cycling in heat stress conditions. The impact of heat stress in the form of hot dry versus hot humid conditions on this interaction will also be investigated.

For more information about participating in this study email Kate Hutchins

Funding / Grants

  • MSc: Kate Hutchins