What do you really know about periods? Here we’ve tried to bust some of the myths around mensuration.

1 . High Blood Loss during a period can cause light-headedness & reduce stamina in many women?

Myth. On average, women lose modest amounts of blood over the length of a period – about 2-3 tablespoons (45 ml) – which will have no impact on aerobic endurance. However, about 10% of females will experience heavy bleeding that may cause them to feel faint or dizzy at times, or even lead to iron deficiency.

2. Exercising during your period is not advised for most women because it can disrupt menstrual flow.

Myth. This is a dated view from the times when menstruating women were regarded as being ‘sick’. Exercise has beneficial effects during the period, like reducing menstrual cramping and period pain (Chisholm, 2020). disrupt menstrual flow.

3. A woman’s athletic performance will be better at certain times during their menstrual cycle than others.

MythAthletic performance, in terms of measurements of power, strength and aerobic endurance, are not impacted by the fluctuations in hormones across the menstrual cycle. Changing energy levels and symptoms, such as pain, cramps and bloating, can however affect a woman’s motivation levels and willingness to exercise.

4. Women who live or play in teams together will start to have their periods at the same time.

Myth. Although there is some anecdotal evidence this may happen, it is regarded as a myth. The myth developed partly due to a 1971 study which has now been discredited because of its methods, and its results have never been replicated in further studies.

5. The presence of regular periods is seen as an indicator of good health by doctors.

True. Regular menstrual cycles are linked to sexual function, fertility, bone health and cognitive function (Pitchers and Elliott-Sale, 2019).

Excessive activity without appropriate calorie intake can cause a disruption to the menstrual cycle, or even the loss of periods, with potentially dangerous consequences so it is important for athletes to monitor the regularity of their periods.


6. A complete menstrual cycle will usually last between 21 and 35 days.

True. While it is regarded that the idealised menstrual cycle lasts for 28 days it is dependent on a range of factors. In reality the length of menstrual cycles varies between women and also between a woman’s subsequent cycles.


7. During a period the high levels of hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) can cause mood swings and changes in energy levels.

MythEnergy levels and moods change during the menstrual cycle but the period actually happens at the start of the menstrual cycle (Days 1-5) when hormone (oestrogen and progesterone) levels are at their lowest.


8. Female athletes are more likely to experience knee injuries around the middle of their menstrual cycle.

True. The occurrence of knee injuries is dependent on a number of risk factors, such as previous training and the surfaces sport is played on. It does appear that knee injuries, particularly to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), can often occur around days 9-14 of the menstrual cycle.


9. During the period it is advisable to avoid spicy foods as they can affect the length of the period and increase menstrual flow.

Myth. There is no correlation between specific types of food and menstrual length or flow despite a myth in some cultures that says certain foods should be avoided. It is vital to eat nutritious foods at all times to facilitate menstruation and limit feelings of tiredness.

(Quiz source – The OU)


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