The role of the menstrual cycle phase in pain perception before and after an isometric fatiguing contraction

Marie K. Hoeger Bement, Rebecca L. Rasiarmos, John M. DiCapo, Audrey Lewis, Manda L. Keller, April L. Harkins, Sandra K. Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to compare exercise-induced analgesia in young women after a fatiguing isometric contraction during different phases of the menstrual cycle. Twenty female subjects performed a submaximal (25% maximal voluntary contraction) isometric contraction until task failure during both the mid-follicular and mid-luteal phases of their menstrual cycle. Pain perception (i.e., pain threshold and pain ratings) was measured before and after the isometric fatiguing contraction. Other measures included mean arterial pressure, heart rate, and anxiety levels. Time to task failure of the fatiguing contraction was similar for the two phases of the menstrual cycle. Following the performance of the isometric contraction: (1) pain thresholds increased and pain ratings decreased; (2) anxiety levels increased; and (3) mean arterial pressure and heart rate increased. These changes were not dependent on the phase of the menstrual cycle. Thus, the menstrual cycle phase does not influence the magnitude of exercise-induced analgesia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-112
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This study was supported by awards from the American Pain Society and Arthritis Foundation to MKHB. Ethical Standards: This protocol was approved by the Institutional Review Board at Marquette University.


  • Cortisol
  • Elbow flexor muscles
  • Exercise-induced analgesia
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Women


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