Such abnormal menstrual patterns can increase the risk of other health changes such as reduced bone density and delayed development of secondary sexual characteristics. It appears that concussion may disturb normal functioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (which controls reactions to stress and regulates emotions, the immune system, sexuality, digestion and many other systems), and lead to low estrogen levels.
It is important for female athletes to be aware of these risks and seek professional medical attention if they experience any such changes. The rate of sport-related concussion among young women is greater than that of males in sports in which both sexes participate. And the symptoms of concussion tend to occur later following injury, and persist longer. The potential disruption of hormonal systems and long-term consequences of concussion in young women make it essential that any head injury be evaluated by a medical professional and that menstrual patterns be monitored closely.