How Can Periods Affect an Athlete’s Career?

We’ve already talked briefly in another article about how the hormones estrogen and progesterone influence our periods, and now we thought it would be right to also discuss how these hormones affect the body of an athlete.

Estrogen plays a key role in our menstrual cycle. Its levels rise and fall throughout our cycles, and due to that, we can notice some changes that happen in our bodies. Your body temperature may rise, or maybe your skin will become more sensitive. But if you are an athlete, there is something else you may want to know about estrogen. It’s not only what we call a sex hormone, as it’s also an important player in the health of our bone structure and muscles.

Another hormone, progesterone, is always on guard for a potential pregnancy. It’s especially active during the second half of our periods, so don’t be surprised if your endurance doesn’t get better after the initial one or two painful days. Don’t judge yourself too harshly if you can’t achieve your best results! Obviously, we don’t suggest that you skip your training completely, but maybe plan more periods of rest.


Pain, sensitivity, and decrease in endurance aside, there is something else you may want to know about estrogen and its role in your cycle. Recent studies have shown that estrogen increases the risk of injuries in female athletes, especially ligament injuries. That’s why they are more prevalent in women.

And now that we know a little more about the pivotal role of hormones in our system, what can we do to reduce the risk of getting an injury and maximize our efficiency during training? As all of us know, the world of athletes is mostly populated by men, and even in our time, women still don’t know a lot about their own bodies. 

Our best advice would be to track your periods, study the ways your body adjusts to menstruation, and try not to work around your hormones but work with them. For example, make a spreadsheet and monitor your performance during training while on periods. Learn how your body changes during that time and improve accordingly. But don’t overdo it! In general, but especially with painkillers. Pain is there for a reason, and ignoring it won’t help you in the long run. Always put your health first. One victory should not cost you your life.

As we always suggest, don’t forget to listen to what your body is trying to say. At the end of the day, only you can decide what works for you.