Menstruation and Athletics
Ever wondered how sportswomen take a grip over their periods? As unfair as it seems, periods do really affect an athlete's capacity to train. As we already know that the period cycle is divided into various phases, the follicular phase, which is one of them, is sensitive for women as they are more prone to tissue injury during this time.
This is one example, another example is that during the first few days of periods, women feel tired due to decrease in estrogen levels and we understand high performance in sports requires a lot of energy. To tackle these problems, women might take birth control pills to stop the release of eggs and thus, stop periods but it is advised not to take these pills right before a competition, since it could lead to decreased performance levels.
In a recent interview Jhanak Dubey, a state-level athlete from Kanpur stated that a period tracking app helps her to prepare for her periods mentally and manage it on the go! In Another interview with Women's Health, Lioness and Chelsea FC football player Fran Kirby said her team uses the “Fit For Women” monitoring app to track their cycles and train accordingly.
In sports like swimming, where menstrual pads cannot be an option to use many athletes use tampons and menstrual cups to keep their flow in check. However, it should be kept it mind that different woman have different response towards high intensity trainings which heavily affect their period flow, while some may not bleed so many others might, according to which they opt out for the most prominent way of handling periods.
In some extreme cases, female athletes may suffer from amenorrhea which is the absence of menstrual periods. Women who work out excessively on a daily are at vulnerable to developing athletic amenorrhea. Causes of the same are low levels of body fat and the effects of exercise-related hormones on the menstrual cycle.