"Endurance exercises such as running or swimming can affect the reproductive physiology of women athletes. Female runners, swimmers and ballet dancers menstruate infrequently in comparison to nonatheletic women of comparable age or not at all (amenorrhea). The degree of menstrual abnormality is directly proportional to the intensity of the exercise. For example, Malina et al., (1978) have shown menstrual irregularity is more common, and more severe among tennis players than among golfers" (modified by a student paper written by A. Lord)
Breastfeeding has been linked to irregularity of menstrual cycles due to hormones that delay ovulation.
Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are also likely to suffer from oligomenorrhea. PCOS is a condition in which excessive androgens (male sex hormones) are released by the ovaries. Women with PCOS show menstrual irregularities that range from oligomenorrhea and amenorrhea, to very heavy, irregular periods. The condition affects about 6% of premenopausal women.
Eating disorders can result in oligomenorrhea. Although menstrual disorders are most strongly associated with Anorexia nervosa, Bulimia nervosa may also result in oligomenorrhea or amenorrhea. There is some controversy regarding the mechanism for the menstrual dysregulation, since amenorrhea may sometimes precede substantial weight loss in some anorexics. Some researchers hypothesize that some as-yet unrecognized neuroendocrine phenomenon may be involved; the menstrual irregularities may be related to the biological undergirding of the disorders, rather than a result of nutritional deficiencies.