Effects of menstrual cycle on sports performance

Int J Neurosci. 2006 Dec;116(12):1549-63. doi: 10.1080/00207450600675217.


The aim of this study was to examine the effects of menstrual cycle on female athletes' performance. Forty-eight teak-wondo athletes, 76 judoka, 81 volleyball, and 36 basketball players (total 241) elite athletes participated in the study. A questionnaire constituted from 21 questions about menstrual cycle applied. A one-way analysis of variance and scheffe tests were performed to assess differences between sport branches about physical and physiological characteristics. Chi square was used to evaluate the regularity of menstrual cycle, performance, and drug taking. The mean age of teak-wondo athletes, judokas, volleyball and basketball players were 20.71 +/- 0.41, 16.91 +/- 0.27, 21.22 +/- 0.26, and 21.03 +/- 0.63 years, respectively. The menarche ages of the athletes were 13.92, 13.22, 13.75, 13.86 years, respectively. 27.8% participated in regional competitions, 46.1% participated in just the national competitions, and 26.1% participated in the international competitions. Whereas the menstrual disorder was seen in 14.5% of the athletes in normal time, during the intensive exercise this ratio was increased to 20.7%. It was determined that during the competition 11.6% of the athletes used drug, 36.9% had a painful menstruation, 17.4% did not have a painful menstruation, 45.6% sometimes had a painful menstruation, and 63.1% of the athletes said that their pain decreased during the competition. First 14 days after the menstruation began, 71% of the athletes said that they felt themselves well. 71% of the athletes felt worst just before the menstruation period, 62.2% of the athletes said that their performance was same during the menstruation, and 21.2% said that their performance got worse. Both in general and during the training the menstruation period of the athletes was found to be regular (p < .01). Most of the athletes said that they have a painful menstruation period, and during the competition their pain decreased. As a result of the questionnaire, during the training and competition the number of athletes that did not use drugs were higher than the athletes that used drug (p < .01). The number of athletes that felt good before and during the menstruation were significantly higher (p < .05, p < .01). Between the menstruation periods the athletes said that they felt better in the first 14 days than the second 14 days (p < .01). When the non-menses period and menses period were compared the athletes said that their performance did not change (p < .01). It has been concluded that the menarche age was high in the athletes. It has found that the physical performance was not affected by the menstrual period and the pain decreased during the training and competition.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Basketball / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Martial Arts / physiology
  • Menarche / physiology*
  • Menstrual Cycle / physiology*
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Sports / physiology*