It’s amazing to see how the women population in India has taken over a slice of the sports sector of the world. Many emerging female athletes have come up and have showcased their talent to the world to win spectacular awards for the nation at numerous events. Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal, or PV Sindhu, all of these women have made the country proud and happy.  

With empowerment, some things still stand in society. Until a few years back, speaking of ‘periods’ was a pure taboo in the nation. Every individual hesitated to use the word ‘period’. Although the situation has taken a huge step towards a society of the 21st century, there is a long way to go. 

In 2018, our international sensation, P.V. Sindhu was spotted in an AD commercial for Stayfree India which is a brand consisting of feminine hygiene products, which roughly translates to ‘Don’t let periods pause your #dreamsofprogress’. The brand used the hashtag #DreamsOfProgress and created a viral buzz over the internet, which was a huge success. 

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Prescribed Painkillers 

During the time when period awareness was low, and when people hesitated to use the word ‘period’ out loud, athletes were generally prescribed a variety of painkillers (hormonal and nonhormonal) to ease their period pain or disturb it from coming at all.

With regular use of painkillers, drastic side effects are seen on an individual’s performance and bodily appearance which lead to long-term infertility.

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This ultimately brings us to the question of our interest, ‘How do athletes deal with periods?

There is no such proven evidence to show how periods impact the performance of a sports player, although many of us think the mid-cycle is the easier journey. For instance, if a woman’s menstrual cycle is 28 days long, it is the first five days when the flow occurs. The first 14 days are called the follicular phase when the egg is building up in the fallopian tube. 

Now, this is the time when female athletes have to be extra careful as there is a higher risk of getting tissue injuries, including ligament tear in the knee. 

Read More- Pads vs Tampons; Let’s Chat

The next 14 days, called the luteal phase, is when the uterus is prepared to receive the fertilised egg. This time is not particularly great for athletic performance, since the body produces higher levels of oestrogen. 

In some extreme cases, athletes lose the ability to get their periods. This condition is termed amenorrhea. In such a case, the brain sends the wrong signal to the uterus and that leads to scanty or no periods at all. When women train hard and are extremely physically active, the production of oestrogen and progesterone in the body lessens, and a woman’s periods stop. 

Some other methods that have come into play are- 

Period Tracking

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In recent times, coaches and institutes, have taken upon the practice of period tracking for their female athletes, and so have the women. This method ensures training according to their cycle and helps not push the body limits too far while being on a period. 

Many companies have come up with period tracking apps for everybody. You can track your periods for every occasion of the year, and not just for sports. 

Read More- How To Deal With Your Periods While At Work

Period Panties 

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Wearing a pad/ tampon/ menstrual cup seems uncomfortable as we think of athletes and honestly, it is. With newer technology standards, some companies have managed to be able to provide the world with underwear that is absolutely comfortable for periods. With just not comfort but sanitation and perfume, we all can wear these panties and be ourselves anywhere, anytime. 

Period panties are a great sustainable and comfortable choice for all. 

This is our insight into how an athlete deals with periods. Connect with us on Instagram and know more. Stay tuned to HerZindagi!