During the last Women’s Soccer World Cup France 2019, the United States concentration hotel was filled with posters. On the posters appeared the competition calendar and the menstrual cycles of the 23 convened together with the days of the contraceptive pill. Since 2010, Dawn Scott has been one of the top performance coaches for the US national team. She was the one who noticed that the menstrual cycle had an influence on sports performance since there was a greater risk of injury.
As of 2016, the monitoring of the cycles of each player called up more regularly began. In 2018, a study was carried out with Dr. Georgie Bruinvels, a researcher on the subject and who had created an application called FitrWoman. It was concluded that the premenstrual stage and during the period is the most unfavorable time for sports practice due to the hormonal change that occurs at that time. The strategy carried out was a program that included changes in diet, hours of sleep and workloads in training.
FitrWoman, the app used by Chelsea Women
After the 2016 FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal, Chelsea Women’s manager Emma Hayes noticed that many of the players were in full menstruation, so she thought it would be interesting to measure its effects. Hayes, together with Eva Woods, her assistant, made the team download FitrWoman, the app developed by Bruinvels so that they could keep a daily record of their menstrual cycle and thus be able to adjust their training, as well as learn about how much the period affects their performance. .
Controlling these factors helps reduce the number of injuries since menstruation is an inflammatory process that increases the probability of damage to muscles and ligaments. During menstruation, reaction time decreases. increases the chance of muscle injury. Stretching, yoga and reaction work should be practiced with little physical load. In addition, it is recommended to eat fish for its anti-inflammatory properties.
In phase II (preovulation, days 5-14) the soccer players feel better, but the risk of muscle injury increases. During phase III, between ovulation and pre-menstruation (days 14-25), inflammation increases and mood swings also begin. In the IV phase (pre-menstruation), mood changes continue, the ability to react and coordinate decreases, and muscle pain and recovery time increase. During this stage they recommend reaction exercises to try to keep the player as fit as possible.
Do soccer players use the contraceptive pill?
Many may wonder how they do to avoid having the period on match days. The continuous use of contraceptive methods allows to regulate cycles and reduce pre-menstrual and menstrual symptoms. It can even delay menstruation and make it impossible to have during the tournament or competition. This is not healthy or recommended, since monthly hormonal cycles are necessary for all women. In the long term it could pose health risks.
In addition, a combined estrogen and progesterone pill can cause weight gain, as well as overheating of the body, which means that during intense exercise some women may feel hotter than others and therefore need to hydrate more.