Menstruation: A Taboo That Harms Women Athletes
Menstruation, an extremely common and natural biological event, is still seen as taboo, and when we need to talk about it, we often don't even use the right word and end up referring to the menstrual cycle as "those days" or something like that.
In many sports the menstrual period is a factor that not only hinders the performance of athletes but is also kept secret, as if it were something shameful.
The Telegraph, one of the largest newspapers in the UK, has published a series of reports from the very people who have the most property to talk about: women sportsmen. Tennis champion Petra Kvitova was questioned at a news conference about how “women's issues” affect female players while other male reporters laughed in embarrassment.
In her response, Petra stated that many women are uncomfortable with matches and practice that eventually occur while they are menstruating.
Six months before Petra, Heather Watson, also a tennis player, talked about such a forbidden subject. When asked why she had missed the first round in a competition, Heather said she was feeling dizzy, nauseous and so out of energy that she was considering asking for medical help at that time.
Then she amended, "I think it was just one of those things I have, these woman things." The statement, while simple and did not actually mention the word "menstruation, " was a great first step in this taboo break within the female sport universe.
It was only Heather talking about it that other women took advantage of the cue to actually question the existence of this taboo. Annabel Croft, considered Britain's best tennis player, also admitted that menstruation is and has always been taboo: “It looks like one of those subjects that are swept under the rug, ” she summarized in an interview with the BBC.
A few months later Petra's statements put the theme back into focus. Although some means refer to the issue as “mimimi”, it is necessary to understand that menstruation may be accompanied by some problems, ranging from hormonal issues, endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome to the simplest factors, such as female gamblers. who must attend the Wimbledon championship, need to wear white clothing.
Unsurprisingly, menstrual flow can eventually overflow the tampon limits and cause embarrassment. In the case of white clothes, this embarrassment is even greater, and if we consider that tennis matches are long and can last for hours, the situation gets even more complicated.
Tennis player Tara Moore believes that menstruation can indeed affect the performance of female athletes. For Tara, the situation gets worse because the subject is considered taboo and, therefore, not openly discussed, with the normality it deserves.
"We need to deal with this element that nobody talks about, " she said, who confessed to always being in the crowd so she wouldn't get her period when their match dates came out. The crowd, however, seems to be no use, after all Tara has been menstruating in the last six major championships in which she participated - detail: last year, one of the matches she participated in lasted four long hours.
Tara raised another question in tennis: Isn't it time to change the rules so that female players can at least take more breaks to go to the bathroom? Currently, players are entitled to only one break per set. "That would be enough, actually, but if the set is long it can be difficult, " he explained.
The fear that her period will end up in her white uniform is such that Tara has had nightmares about it. She says she respects the tradition of rules, but suggests that people start thinking more about this issue.
Another problem raised by Tara is the fact that many medicines that ease menstrual pain are prohibited because they contain substances that give energy and thus improve the performance of female players.
Tara's suggestion is not only to formulate a drug that can be released, but also to educate her so that the players are prepared and know how to act when they get their periods.
This issue can not only be addressed by the coaches themselves, but there are examples that the discussion might work. In hockey, for example, this already happens - at least in the British team. "In fact, we have our menstrual cycle monitored by our coach for a year before the Olympics, " said player Hannah Macleod.
"It's a subject we are never ashamed to talk about, " she added, who also commented that exercising when you are menstruating can be very complicated by humor, coordination, physical disposition and even body temperature.
In the case of monitoring menstrual cycles, athletes email coaches with the dates of their periods so that coaches can prepare workouts on specific days and even understand the weight variations they go through - yes, that too may be affected during the menstrual cycle.
So, should the menstruation taboo break out of British hockey and reach other sports around the world? What do you think about the subject? Tell us in the comments!