Q. My roommate claims women athletes can improve their endurance by taking drugs that will change their menstrual cycles. Just how does that work?
A. Female athletes may have greater endurance in the last part rTC of their menstrual cycle than in the first. Using that information, a gynecologist can manipulate the periods of a woman who normally has regular cycles by prescribing pills containing progesterone, a female hormone, for 10 days -- 35 days before her athletic event.
This procedure will cause the athlete to menstruate a few days after she stops taking the pills. The athletic event will then take place around 20 days after she starts to menstruate -- just when her endurance should be at its highest.