In females, hormones such as estrogen and progesterone are responsible for maintaining a healthy menstrual cycle and they ultimately have an influence on athletic performance. Estrogen secretion naturally varies in young women, increasing 10- to 100-fold during the menstrual cycle. Estrogen has a dramatic effect on musculoskeletal function and has an important role in the development, maturation and aging of bones, muscles, and connective tissues.
An alarming fact has been found that musculoskeletal injuries are more common in women than in men. Research suggests that fluctuations in hormones during the menstrual cycle, including estrogen, might play a role by increasing the risk of catastrophic ligament injury. The role of estrogen in musculoskeletal function has therefore become a growing area of research.
So, what can we do as women to maximize musculoskeletal function and avoid injury? Unfortunately, the sporting world is dominated by male trainers and coaches. Most of the knowledge that we have on how female athletes should train is based on what has worked for men. Not enough is known about how women could utilize their cycles to benefit and improve their performance. Women athletes are unaware of how their hormones can affect their results.
It is believed that by tracking our periods and learning how our bodies react, we can utilize our hormone cycle to increase performance and improve results. While participating in any form of sports, women should monitor their periods to completely understand how their cycle effects their performance and how they can utilize the information to improve results. Women should ensure that their monthly period pains are in control and that if they take any pain killers, that they do not have a negative effect on their potential victories. In fact, there is research that indicates a relationship between taking over the counter pain medications and a tendency towards inflammation and cell damage.
Most importantly learn what works for you and what does not by listening to your body. It really has a lot to say.