The period problem: does menstruation make females more vulnerable to injury?


South West England’s Holly Molesworth in action during the rugby sevens at Barking RFC who was competing in the Government backed Sainsburys 2012 School Games. Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Paul Childs

Young girls are encouraged to play sport, and many of them continue to pursue active and competitive lifestyles through adulthood. In the recent Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, nearly half of the athletes participating were women(1). As women’s sport continues to bloom, our understanding of how their physiological differences affect injury risk improves. As new research undercovers the specific needs of female athletes, clinicians will need to adapt their management. For example, monitoring athlete menstrual cycles may be helpful to identify which points within the cycle that athletes are at greater risk of injury(2).

Because menstruation is the visible sign of the female reproductive cycle, it’s natural to assume women should take it easy during this time. However, new research calls this thinking into question. Jasmine Marcus explores the topic and suggests that ovulation, not menstruation, may put athletes at a higher injury risk (here).


  1.; accessed 4/28/2021
  2. Front Sports Act Living. 2021 Mar 1; 3:616999
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