How Menstrual Cycle Affects Young Female Athletes: A Guide for Coaches and Parents
As a coach or parent of a young female athlete, you may have questions about how her menstrual cycle affects her performance. In this guide, we will explain how changes in hormone levels during the menstrual cycle can impact exercise performance and what you can do to support your athlete.
The menstrual cycle typically lasts for around 28 days and has three phases:
1. Early Follicular Phase: During this phase, hormone levels are low.
2. Ovulatory Phase: Hormone levels fluctuate, with oestrogen being high and progesterone being low.
3. Mid-Luteal Phase: Hormone levels are high.
Studies have shown that exercise performance may be slightly reduced during the early follicular phase. This effect is small and may not significantly impact most young female athletes. However, it's essential to monitor and understand your athlete's individual response to exercise across her menstrual cycle.
Many female athletes use oral contraceptives to manage the physical and emotional symptoms of their menstrual cycle. Although these pills can help alleviate symptoms, their long-term effects on health and performance are not yet known. It's important to discuss the use of contraceptives with your athlete's healthcare provider and evaluate their potential impact on performance.As a coach or parent, it's crucial to create an environment where your athlete feels comfortable discussing their menstrual cycle. Encourage them to keep track of their cycle and any symptoms that may impact their performance. Provide access to menstrual products and appropriate facilities during training and competitions.
In conclusion, the menstrual cycle is one factor that can impact exercise performance, but it's unlikely to be a significant factor for most young female athletes. With the right support and guidance, young female athletes can reach their full potential, regardless of their menstrual cycle.