FC Malaga City NY – Hudson Valley Soccer AcademyFebruary 8, 2021
Let’s keep talkin’, PERIODFebruary 20, 2021
No flo…No go…Ya know?
Things parents, coaches and female athletes NEED to talk about.
Let’s all say it together on a count of 1…2…3…
[ vuh-jahy-nuh ]. Yes, the “vajayjay”. That place women bleed from each month.
Often known as: Period, Time of the Month, Bleeding, Menses, Monthlies, One’s Friend, Shark Week.
Such a tough topic to broach.
The unfortunate reality is that our inability and discomfort talking about this topic is negatively impacting female athletes.
We need to talk about this. Ignoring it can be detrimental to a female’s ability to generate & maintain healthy bone, develop healthy muscle, and can put a heavy damper on sports performance.
A woman’s period is normal….period. Bringing it up shouldn’t be so faux pas in society. I remember being 12 and trying to hide…hide the fact that I was “bleeding”, growing boobs, or starting to sweat. I can tell you…feeling awkward as a 12-year-old sucked. We really need to change this. Luckily, over the years I’ve learned that having my period makes me an indestructible force to be reckoned with... and this is what we need to teach our female athletes.
Menstruation is what creates a woman’s superhuman strength. Especially the fact that we make our significant others bring us chocolate, coffee, flowers, or even a new puppy simply by saying….. it’s “that time of the month”. Heck, my fiance knows to not test the waters during shark week.
I know it’s freaking weird to talk about bleeding vaginas, but we must stop dancing around the facts. The scars we have caused female athletes by not talking about it is far from fair. Female athletes need to know having a menstrual cycle is powerful and not having one is weakening. In fact, having a normal period is like hitting the million-dollar jackpot.
We are NOT fragile thanks to our monthly friend. In fact, having a regular period is what makes women stronger. Yes, I said it. OUR PERIOD MAKES US STRONG. It is a sign that our bodies are ready to move mountains. Without it, we’re sinking in quicksand.
Did you know that a young woman should be menstruating by 15, and if not she should see a healthcare provider? Did you also know that it is abnormal for women to “skip” periods without a medical diagnosis? A delayed or lost period SIGNIFICANTLY increases a female’s risk for injury. Unlike many old-timers used to think, lack of menstruation is NOT related to peak athleticism. Instead, it relates to poor performance and failure to achieve greatness.
So instead of a long-winded explanation of drawn-out medical jargon, here’s an abbreviated version of what happens when there’s no red sea. A delayed or lost period can be a sign of an energy imbalance. And heck, energy is fuel for our bodies. Without enough of it, we putter along like a car running out of gas. Low energy affects our brain, heart, hormones, bones, muscles, and more. I can assure you, that car or our bodies won’t perform well with no fuel. Low energy=no menses and no menses=poor performance, poor bone health, increased risk for injury, and loss of womanly superpowers.
Are you listening yet?
We NEED to discuss bleeding, tampons (aka plugs- thanks mom), and cramps with our female athletes. It’s a magic trick we should use to keep them strong, healthy and HAPPY. What I recommend, get comfortable being uncomfortable and you best make sure you’re asking your female athletes about their periods. I recommend starting with these basic questions:
- How old were you at the time of your first period?
- When was the last time you had your period”?
- Are your periods regular(monthly)?
- Have you missed more than three consecutive periods?
- Have you visited a physician due to the loss of “that time of the month”?
- Do you feel tired often?
- Have you ever had a stress fracture?
- Have you ever had a diagnosis of an eating disorder?
We need to get to work, folks. We need to protect our female athletes more now than ever. If you’re not comfortable talking blood and guts just ask for help. That is what I’m here for. I’m willing and able to help you learn or to have these conversations with your female athletes. So, please don’t hesitate to ask for help!
I won’t stop discussing the needs of the female athlete until something changes. So let’s keep pushing forward, folks. If you have more questions on this topic, please do not hesitate to ask. In my next post, I will help you learn to use & interpret the questions above. As for now, I do recommend some more light reading related to this topic (PS. For those of you who don’t like to read, check out the youtube videos & make sure to subscribe to our channel).
- The Silent Female Athlete Epidemic: The Female Athlete Triad
- Why We Are Failing Our Female Athletes
- Food is Fuel
I can’t wait to hear from you!