The effects of the menstrual cycle and hormonal contraceptives on the central thermoeffector threshold temperatures and width of the interthreshold zone
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Basal body temperature (BBT) and thermoeffector thresholds increase following ovulation in many women. This study investigated if solely central thermoregulatory alterations are responsible. Seven females in a non-contraceptive group (NCG) were compared with 5 monophasic contraceptive users (HCG) on separate accounts: pre-ovulation (Trial I; d 2-5) and post-ovulation (Trial 2; 4-8 d post-positive ovulation) for NCG, and active phase for HCG (d 2-5, d 18-21). During immersion in 28°C water to the axilla, participants exercised for 20-30 min on an underwater ergometer. After steadily sweating, immersion continued until metabolism increased two-fold due to shivering. Rectal (Tre) BBT was not different between trials for neither NCG (1: 37.34±0.16°C; 2: 37.35±0.27°C) nor HCG. At exercise termination, Tre forehead sweating cessation increased (P<0.05) in trial 2 irrespective of group (1: 37.55±0.39°C; 2: 37.90±0,46°C). Tre shivering onset did not increase (P>0.05) in trial 2 (1: 36.91±0.50°C; 2: 37.07±0,45°C). The widths of the interthreshold zone increased (P<0.05) in trial 2 (1: 0.64±0.22°C; 2: 0.82±0.37°C) due to the increased sweating threshold only. HCG cooled quicker (1: -l.15±0,43°C; 2: -1.00±0.50°C) than NCG participants (1: - 0.58±0.22°C; 2: -0.52±O.29°C), and tympanic (Tty) sweat thresholds were significantly (P<0.05) decreased (1: 34.76±0.54°C; 2: 35.39±0.61°C) versus NCG (l: 35.57±0.77°C; 2: 35.89±1.04°C). Lastly, Tre and Tty thresholds were significantly different (P<O.05) for all thresholds within the same trial. In conclusion, BBT is not a reliable indicator of ovulation, only the central thermoregulatory drive for sweating is altered by menstrual phase, contraceptive users have enhanced thermal sensitivities, and Tty opposed to Tre provides different measures of core temperature.