Working with the Menstrual Cycle in Female Athletes

by Calli Doan and Justin Kilian, MEd, CSCS,*D
NSCA Coach December 2021
Vol 8, Issue 3

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The goal of this article is to promote professional dialogue and broaden the knowledge of ways to use nutrition and recovery techniques to work with the physiological changes that come throughout the menstrual cycle.

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This article originally appeared in NSCA Coach, a quarterly publication for NSCA Members that provides valuable takeaways for every level of strength and conditioning coach. You can find scientifically based articles specific to a wide variety of your athletes’ needs with Nutrition, Programming, and Youth columns. Read more articles from NSCA Coach »

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References

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2. Alaunyte, I, Stojceska, V, and Plunkett, A. Iron and the female athlete: A review of dietary treatment methods for improving iron status and exercise performance. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 12(38): 1-7, 2015.

3. Armour, M, Parry, KA, Steel, K, and Smith, CA. Australian female athlete perceptions of the challenges associated with training and competing when menstrual symptoms are present. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching 15(3): 316-323, 2020.

4. Bharati, M. Comparing the effects of yoga and oral calcium administration in alleviating symptoms of premenstrual syndrome in medical undergraduates. Journal of Caring Sciences 5(3): 179-185, 2016.

5. Bruinvels, G, Burden, R, Brown, N, Richards, T, and Pedlar, C. The prevalence and impact of heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia) in elite and non-elite athletes. PLoS ONE 11(2): 1-8, 2016.

6. Draper, CF, Duisters, K, and Weger, B. Menstrual cycle rhythmicity: metabolic patterns in healthy women. Scientific Reports 1-15, 2018.

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8. Findlay, RJ, Macrae, EHR, Whyte, IY, Easton, C, and Forrest Née Whyte, LJ. How the menstrual cycle and menstruation affect sporting performance: experiences and perceptions of elite female rugby players. British Journal of Sports Medicine 54(18): 1108-1113, 2020.

9. Gorczyca, A, Sjaarda, L, Mitchell, E, Perkins, N, Schliep, K, Wactawski-Wende, J, and Mumford, S. Changes in macronutrient, micronutrient, and food group intakes throughout the menstrual cycle in healthy, premenopausal women. European Journal of Nutrition 55(3): 1181-1188, 2016.

10. Hackney, AC, Kallman, AL, and Eser Ağgön. Female sex hormones and the recovery from exercise: Menstrual cycle phase affects responses. Biomedical Human Kinetics 11(1): 87-89, 2019.

11. Hashim, MS, Obaideen, AA, Jahrami, HA, Radwan, H, Hamad, HJ, Owais, AA, et al. Premenstrual syndrome is associated with dietary and lifestyle behaviors among university students: A crosssectional study from Sharjah, UAE. Nutrients 11(8): 1939, 2019.

12. Janse de Jonge, XA. Effects of the menstrual cycle on exercise performance. Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.Z.) 33(11): 833-851, 2003.

13. Koikawa, N, Takami, Y, Kawasaki, Y, Kawana, F, Shiroshita, N, Ogasawara, E, and Kasai, T. Changes in the objective measures of sleep between the initial nights of menses and the nights during the midfollicular phase of the menstrual cycle in collegiate female athletes. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine: JCSM: Official Publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine 16(10): 1745-1751, 2020.

14. Lane, DJ, and Richardson, DR. The active role of vitamin C in mammalian iron metabolism: much more than just enhanced iron absorption! Free Radical Biology and Medicine 75: 69-83, 2014.

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23. Tenforde, AS, Beauchesne, AR, Borg-Stein, J, Hollander, K, McInnis, K, Kotler, D, and Ackerman, KE. Awareness and comfort treating the female athlete triad and relative energy deficency in sport among healthcare providers. German Journal of Sports Medicine 71(3): 76-80, 2020.

24. Tornberg, ÄB, Melin, A, Manderson Koivola, F, Johanssen, A, Skouby, S, Faber, J, and Sjoden, A. Reduced neuromuscular performance in amenorrheic elite endurance athletes. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 49(12): 2478-2485, 2017.

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About the author

Calli Doan

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About the author

Justin Kilian, PhD, MEd, CSCS,*D

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Justin Kilian is a doctoral candidate in health and humanperformance, currently working through the dissertation process.He is an Assistant Professor ...

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