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Eilish McColgan column: "Why is menstruation still taboo?"

Given that nearly half of the population menstruates monthly, it seems strange that menstruation is still taboo in 2022.

Even more so in the context of sports. As professional athletes, performance is our number one job. But what if our own bodies were working against us on that particular day?

Dina Asher-Smith talked about it After cramping out of the European Championship 100m on Tuesday, I know firsthand how much periods affect my performance.

Before Oslo this season, I had only been eliminated from two competitions. Horrible DNF. In both cases, period was the perpetrator.

The only way to describe it is that it feels like my legs have been replaced with concrete blocks.

A few months, it’s manageable. Other months are irresistible. You never know which Irish you’ll get that day. It’s an almost impossible task to try and run, or at least to the best of my ability.

And after a bad result, I was eaten alive on social media by armchair critics, explaining their theories as to why. I Failure…

“I feel like Siamese the whale”

As a young child, I suffered from unbearable cramps every month to the point that my body would run a fever and start vomiting.

It went from hot to cold and I felt like death in bed all day before waking up the next morning as if nothing had happened.

I went to my doctor and they prescribed a pill. I felt rotten. I cried almost every day and interrupted even the smallest arguments.

Considering I was rarely emotional, it felt like a huge personality shift and I didn’t like the way I felt or who my hormones were manipulating me. I was.

For the next 10 years, I kept doing it as long as I could. As I got older, the vomiting stopped and my symptoms eased. Life was manageable, but as I transitioned into elite athletics and that translated into performance, the struggle became more evident.

In 2019, at a convention in California, I posted on Instagram how I got DNF because of my period.I couldn’t believe the overwhelmingly positive response from other women. People felt they were the only ones with this problem. And since it wasn’t something Olympians talk about, most people thought it wouldn’t affect us.

I paid a lot of money for international flight tickets, accommodation, and participation in the race, so I remember the race very clearly. It all turned out to be a good amount of money. But it’s worth it to qualify for the next World Championships.

Due to the long travel, my period was a little late (another factor female athletes need to consider). Of course, while I was preparing for the race, I decided to announce the timely arrival.

I took a heavy dose of ibuprofen to calm my stomach cramps, shuffled and headed to the starting line. . I remember really beating myself up thinking, “What a waste of money.”

These qualifying races in the US are notorious for running late into the night. Too late for any restaurants to open. However, we walked several miles to the nearest drive-thru McDonald’s. We literally said our prayers on arrival but reality knocked when they didn’t serve us without a car.

I sat in the parking lot and cried at the stupid hours of the morning. We cried because we didn’t have a car and because they didn’t give us a Big Mac.

Luckily, I found a 24-hour grocery store on my way home. I bought a family size cake and it was worth $8.99.

“Should I call the Olympics and ask them to reschedule?”

It still fascinates me that the vast majority of women struggle with their menstrual cycle every month and no one seems to have an answer.

If it affected men, especially our top male athletes, I think it would be addressed in much more detail. Can you imagine how many Premier League footballers will remain on the bench? Just waiting for the full-time whistle to blow so I can go home to sleep.

Menstruation can also increase the risk of injury. Muscle and tendon damage is much greater, which is why many women’s teams in sports such as hockey and soccer adjust the cycles of their athletes within their training programs.

I know some sprinters like Dina avoid working in the gym entirely because of that. I think that. Every day. single. Moon. But that is the reality.

A few years ago, I made the mistake of training too hard at a certain stage of my cycle and tore my hamstring. That was a lesson I learned the hard way, and I hope the younger generation can learn from it.

In 2019, when I brought up how frustrating it was to coincide with major competitions, a man responded on Twitter. was to stop and schedule another race.

As if I could call the Olympics and ask them to move the event to the next week to match my cycle. indicates a complete lack of

This should not be an embarrassing topic. Coaches, physiotherapists, teachers, parents, partners and friends all have a role to play in an open dialogue. You should be comfortable with this discussion.

Several professional athletes I’ve spoken to have stopped taking hormones after a few years.

Menstrual cycles are often the first to go away if an individual is over-trained or under-fueled. gives

That’s one of the most important messages I want to pass on to young athletes.

One of the best things I’ve ever done is to expand the conversation not only among other professional athletes, but also online, to the larger community of women. Share experiences, listen to others and get advice.

There is still a lot of trial and error in finding what works for each individual, but personally I feel more educated on the subject than ever before.

I don’t have all the answers I need yet, but hopefully one day I’ll keep that conversation open for the next generation of young female athletes.