11 Aug ACL Risk and the Female Athlete Menstrual Cycle: What We Do Know
Digging through the menstrual cycle research is tough.
There aren’t many conclusive, universal findings on how the menstrual cycle impacts ACL risk and performance.
Some girls report increased negative symptoms (fatigue, mood fluctuations, digestive issues, bloating, and cramping) during the Follicular Phase, while others, report these icky feelings occur during the Luteal Phase and days before the Menstrual Phase.
It is important for young girls understand and be aware of the symptoms specific to them, and take action accordingly.It is important for young girls understand and be aware of the symptoms specific to them, and take action accordingly. Click To Tweet
Here’s what we DO know and some solutions:
- Every female athlete’s menstrual cycle is unique and each girl will experience different symptoms at different times.
- Consistent missed periods are a red flag and can lead to bone mineral density loss, fatigue, disrupted sleep, moodiness, soft tissue injury, and overall athletic performance decline.
- Monitoring missed periods will inform athletes there is a problem and changes in lifestyle may need to be made (training load, nutrition, sleep quality, stress management)
- Most female athletes are in a catabolic state (unknowingly) and need to up their protein to 20-30 grams a meal for muscles to rebuild and repair
- More fat is used during the Luteal Phase, so female athletes need to increase healthy fat (Omega 3s) to reduce inflammation
- With little research available on the menstrual cycle impact on ACL injury and performance, still focus on the big rocks first: strength training, proper nutrition, and quality sleep
HERE is a full podcast with Emily Neff, female athlete performance coach, discussing these big rocks and how young female athletes can jump start a quality performance and nutrition plan and remain consistent so they feel at their best
For age specific and season specific programs, check out my ONLINE TRAINING SUBSCRIPTIONS HERE
For more on training the youth female athlete, check out my guide book THE STRONG FEMALE ATHLETE HERE