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APHPT Blog | Effect of the Menstrual Cycle on Athletic Performance in NCAA Division III Collegiate Athletes

Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy

Effect of the Menstrual Cycle on Athletic Performance in NCAA Division III Collegiate Athletes

Amy Tremback-Ball, PT, PhD, Kaitlin Fulton, DPT, Nicole Giampietro, DPT, Megan Gibbons, DPT, Arielle Kneller, DPT, Hayley Zelinka, DPT

Previous research studies demonstrate that female athletes are at a higher risk of injury compared to their male counterparts. Studies contribute these findings to varying anatomical structures between men and women, hormonal changes throughout the menstrual cycle, and some athletes taking oral contraceptives. 

The menstrual cycle can be broken down into the follicular phase and the luteal phase. Throughout these phases, estrogen and progesterone, the two main hormones associated with menstruation, rise and fall in preparation for implantation. Additionally, relaxin levels vary throughout menstruation, which could lead to higher risk of injury due to the effects of relaxin on connective tissue. Prementrustral and menstrual symptoms may also negatively impact an individual physically and emotionally, which may potentially affect quality of life and reduce work capacity. In athletes, this could translate to decreased athletic performance. 

In this prospective, descriptive study, authors wanted to examine whether a relationship exists between the phases of the menstrual cycle and athletic performance in female collegiate athletes. For physical therapists, understanding the effect of the menstrual cycle on performance may be beneficial in determining the best exercises in a plan of a care and educating patients on potential strategies to decrease risk of injury.

Read the full article to find out more about the potential impact of the menstrual cycle on athletic performance in female collegiate athletes. 

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