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A Journal on Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery,
Plastic Reconstructive Surgery, Otoneurosurgery
Indexed/Abstracted in: EMBASE, Scopus
Otorinolaringologia 1999 September;49(3):131-7
Sport and audio-vestibular diseases: otoneurologic findings in a female soccer team
Restivo S., Giuliano R.*, Giuliano D. A., Gallina S., Amato G.*
Università degli Studi - Palermo Clinica Otorinolaringoiatrica Base
* Istituto di Fisiologia Umana
Background. The vertigo syndrome of athletes can be induced by three etiologic factors: traumatic and vascular ones, and disorders of the hydro-electrolytic balance. The physical agonistic activity in female athletes frequently causes imbalance of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis with subsequent alterations of the menstrual cycle and possible disturbances of hemodynamics of the labyrinthic microcircle.
Methods. Fifteen elite female soccer players (mean age 20,3±3,1) have been submitted to audio-vestibular investigation to value not only the otoneurologic disorders more present in these athletes and the etiologic factors of their onset, but, above all, the existence of a possible relationship between menstrual irregularities, reported in gynecologic case history, and sign of labyrinthic suffering, demonstrated by audio-impedancemetric and electronystagmographic examinations.
Results. Seven of the fifteen elite female soccer players reported episodic objective vertigo following cranial or cervical spine injury. Only six of these athletes had alterations of the menstrual cycle. Audio-vestibular disorders have been observed in midfield and defense oligo/amenorrhoic soccer players mainly subjected to cranial and cervical spine injury. The present results confirm the relationship between physical agonistic activity and incidence of vestibular disorders following cranial or cervical spine injury, as well as the plausible hypothesis according to the hypogonadotrophic hypoestrogenism of athletes with menstrual irregularities should induce vascular disturbances in the hearing organ and so, modest neurosensorial hypoacusia as effect of the low vasodilatation action of the estrogen hormones on labyrinthic microcircle.
Conclusions. To safeguard the anatomo-functional integrity of the hearing and vestibular organs, the authors suggest a careful otoneurologic follow-up of female athletes.