Mimic caloric restriction as a means to birth control?
I'll admit that female endocrinology is not something I know a great deal about, but I do know that most of the birth control pills today follow a general strategy of fooling the body into thinking it is pregnant. This stops ovulation and implantation.
It is also the case that certain types of stress, notably caloric restriction and extremely high levels of physical activity can also retard both ovulation and menstruation. In fact, young girls who are serious athletes often do not experience menarche until years later than ordinary girls. (On the other hand, for reasons not fully understood, the average age of menarche has been gettting significantly younger in recent decades.)
The evolutionary reason for the late menarche seems obvious -- if times are tough, and food is scarce, it may be best to not have babies right then.
Anyway, there must be some hormonal signals which these levels of stress generate which trigger the reproductive system not to operate. My question is -- might it be possible to mimic these signals, without other harmful effects, as a method of birth control and even menstrual supression?
Of course, we're very interested in other ways to mimic the signals of caloric restriction without the actual restriction, since in all the animals tested so far, caloric restriction results in serious extension of lifespan and youthspan.