Physiologically, a woman is very hardy, because her body is designed for the fact that she will be able to bear, give birth and feed a child. At the same time, women are prone to fanaticism, including in sports. To achieve maximum results, many athletes train until they lose strength, sit on the most severe diets, bringing their body to exhaustion.
Tina Moore (https://www.instagram.com/tinamuir88) is a professional runner representing Great Britain, and for 9 years she has not had a menstrual cycle. She shared her story:
“The doctors said that everything is fine, I just run too much. But I know that everything is not all right, and it’s time to admit what I’ve been hiding for so long. The last time I had a menstrual cycle was in August 2009. The regular cycle disappeared in 2007, my reproductive system failed. My body does not always have enough energy to recover after training, what kind of child can we talk about. I had to leave sports for a while and think about my health. In addition, on the advice of an endocrinologist, I stopped thinking about what I can eat and what I can’t – I eat whatever I want. Often, it is malnutrition in athletes that becomes the main cause of problems with the cycle.”
From a scientific point of view, the prolonged absence of a menstrual cycle is called amenorrhea. Moreover, in sports medicine there is a concept of “women’s sports triad”, which includes diseases associated with eating disorders, amenorrhea and osteoporosis.1
Scientists from Zagreb conducted a survey of 72 female athletes (10 volleyball players, 18 basketball players, 10 ballerinas, 34 runners) and 96 girls who do not exercise regularly. Athletes were diagnosed with amenorrhea three times more often.2
There are also two major studies that have found that eating disorders are often found among elite athletes in various sports. A study by Australian scientists showed that eating disorders are observed in 31% (group – 263 athletes) of elite athletes.3 A study by Norwegian scientists found eating disorders in 25 (a group of 1620 athletes) of athletes engaged in endurance sports, aesthetic sports (gymnastics, dancing) and weightlifting.
How are eating disorders in athletes related to reproductive function? Active sports require enormous energy consumption, for example, cyclical sports athletes can train twice a day. If an athlete eats little or incorrectly, he may have an energy imbalance – more energy is spent than is consumed. To save energy, the body can “turn off” any functions (for example, reproductive). To prevent this from happening, it is necessary to supply yourself with everything you need and monitor the amount of proteins, fats and carbohydrates consumed. Сontraceptives for women Yasmin can be ordered on the website without any problems in a couple of clicks.
Contrary to popular belief, not only weightlifters and bodybuilders need a lot of protein. Women who are actively engaged in sports also often “do not get” the protein needed to create and maintain muscle mass. In addition, it is necessary for muscle recovery after intensive training. Sources of protein – meat, fish, cottage cheese, eggs.
Adipose tissue plays an important role in the endocrine system. Therefore, you should not give up natural fat-containing products – unrefined vegetable oil, nuts, butter.
If we “do not get” useful carbohydrates, then we try to compensate with fast food, chocolates and other “fast” food. As a rule, this does not lead to anything good – problems with the digestive system may begin. Therefore, try to include complex carbohydrates in your diet – various cereals, whole-grain bread and pasta, vegetables, legumes, greens. However, even here it is worth knowing the measure.
You should monitor not only your diet, but also the menstrual cycle, since the features of the female body are closely related to it. Training sessions can and should be adjusted to cycles. It is desirable that the coach treats this issue with understanding. The processes occurring during the cycle can be conditionally divided into two periods corresponding to changes in the body follicular and luteal. In each of the periods, different processes occur and, accordingly, different hormones are involved. This affects the well-being, performance and mood of a woman.
In the first half of the cycle, there is a surge of strength, a good appetite and mood. During this period, anabolic processes occur (aimed at growth), respectively, strength training is more effective. In the second half, on the contrary, catabolic processes prevail, you should not “drive” yourself when everything is already “on the decline”. Women complain of apathy, increased appetite and premenstrual syndrome (from a physiological point of view, the appetite on the contrary falls, and the desire for “sweet” arises due to a lack of any substances).
Also, the body is sensitive to stress, so it needs adequate rest and recovery. Stress is not only a strict diet, but also personal experiences, lack of sleep. Plan your workouts so that there is enough time for a full sleep. You can introduce vitamins and multivitamins into the diet (usually vitamins A and E predominate in “female” supplements), antioxidants and fish oil (omega3).
Summing up the above, we can say that disorders in the female body during intense exercise are more associated with a violation of nutrition. For women to preserve their health and reproductive function, it is important to learn to listen and understand their body, providing it with the necessary nutrition and rest.