Study Title:

Effect of menstrual cycle on resting metabolism: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Study Abstract

Background: The need to control for the potential influence of menstrual cycle phase on resting metabolism (RMR) places a burden on research participants who must self-report onset of menstruation and researchers who must schedule metabolic testing accordingly.

Purpose: To systematically review and analyze existing research to determine the effect of menstrual cycle on RMR.

Methods: We searched PubMed, CINAHL, MEDLINE, SPORTDiscus, and Scopus databases using the search terms "menstrual cycle and metabolic rate" and "menstrual cycle and energy expenditure." Eligibility criteria were English language, single-group repeated measures design, and RMR as either a primary or secondary outcome. Risk of bias was assessed based on study sample, measurement, and control of confounders. Differences between the follicular and luteal phases of the menstrual cycle were analyzed using the standardized mean difference in effect size.

Results: Thirty English-language studies published between 1930 and December 2019 were included in the systematic review, and 26 studies involving 318 women were included in the meta-analysis. Overall, there was a small but significant effect favoring increased RMR in the luteal phase (ES = 0.33; 95% CI = 0.17, 0.49, p < 0.001).

Discussion: Limitations include risk of bias regarding measurement of both menstrual cycle and RMR. Sample sizes were small and studies did not report control of potential confounders. Sub-group analysis demonstrated that in more recent studies published since 2000, the effect of menstrual phase was reduced and not statistically significant (ES = 0.23; 95% CI = -0.00, 0.47; p = 0.055). Until larger and better designed studies are available, based on our current findings, researchers should be aware of the potential confounding influence of the menstrual cycle and control for it by testing consistently in one phase of the cycle when measuring RMR in pre-menopausal women.

Study Information

PLoS One. 2020 Jul 13;15(7):e0236025. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0236025. PMID: 32658929; PMCID: PMC7357764.

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