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Performance and knowledge related to the menstrual cycle within Swedish elite sports: From the athletes’ point of view
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH, Department of Sport and Health Sciences.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Aim

The overall aim was to investigate Swedish elite athlete’s perceptions about the effects of the menstrual cycle on sports performance. The research questions applied was:

1. How do elite athletes perceive the effects of the menstrual cycle on performance, and do they adjust training or competition accordingly?

2. How do elite athletes perceive the knowledge and beliefs within the area, among their coaches?

Method

A cross-sectional study design was applied using an online questionnaire for data collection. The study group of interest were female Swedish elite athletes, from both team and individual sports. Teams and athletes defined as ‘elite athletes’ were contacted and offered participation. All data collected from the questionnaire was processed in IBM SPSS® where both descriptive and analytic statistics was performed. The Shapiro-Wilk test was used to test the assumptions of normality for the data, Chi2-tests and Fisher’s exact test were used to examine relationships between variables in the sample and the statistical significance level for analysis was set at p ≤ 0.05.

Results

Both menstrual- and premenstrual symptoms (PMS) effected the athletes in the sample. The psychological PMS affected close to 70% of the sample in at least one aspect and the symptoms menstrual bleeding affected majority of the sample (82%). The phases were athletes perceived themselves perform the best and the worst were different, with majority of the sample perceiving their worst performance being close to bleeding. This may be an effect of the negative symptoms associated with the bleeding phase. Both coaches’ and athletes’ perceived knowledge were considerably low, as well as athletes’ possibilities to discuss menstrual problems with their coach.

Conclusions

Elite athletes perceive negative effects of the menstrual cycle and somewhat experience variations in performance throughout the cycle. The knowledge within the area, especially for people involved in female sports, needs to improve.

Abstract [sv]

Syfte och frågeställningar

Det övergripande syftet var att undersöka svenska elitidrottares uppfattningar om effekterna av menstruationscykeln på deras prestationsförmåga. Frågeställningarna var:

1. Hur uppfattar elitidrottare effekterna av menstruationscykeln på deras prestation och anpassar de träning eller tävling i enlighet med detta?

2. Hur uppfattar elitidrottare kunskapen och åsikterna inom det specifika området, bland sina tränare?

Metod

En tvärsnittsstudie genomfördes med hjälp av webb-enkät för datainsamling. Studiegruppen av intresse var kvinnliga svenska elitidrottare, från både lag och individuella idrotter. Lag och idrottare som kunde definieras som "elitidrottare" kontaktades och erbjöds deltagande. All insamlade data från enkä̈ten behandlades i IBM SPSS där både beskrivande och analytisk statistik genomfördes. Shapiro-Wilk’s test användes för att testa antaganden om normalfördelning för data, Chi2-test och Fisher’s exakta test användes för att undersöka samband mellan variabler i urvalet och den statistiska signifikansnivån för analys var ≤ 0.05.

Resultat

Både menstruella- och premenstruella symptom (PMS) påverkade idrottarna i studiegruppen. De psykologiska PMS påverkade nära 70% av deltagarna i åtminstone ett avseende och symptom vid menstruationsblödning drabbade majoriteten av gruppen (82%). De faser i menstruationscykeln där idrottarna upplevde sin bästa- respektive sämsta prestation var olika, med en majoritet av gruppen som upplevde sin sämsta prestation i samband med blödning. Detta kan vara en effekt av de negativa symtom som är förknippade med blödningsfasen. Både tränares och idrottarnas upplevda kunskap var förhållandevis låg, liksom idrottarnas möjligheter till att diskutera menstruationsproblem med sin tränare.

Slutsatser

Elitidrottare upplever negativa effekter av menstruationscykeln och upplever vissa variationer i prestation under cykeln. Kunskapen inom området, speciellt för de involverade i kvinnlig idrott, behöver förbättras.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 45
Series
Examensarbete ; 2019:29
Keywords [en]
menstrual cycle, performance, sports performance, female athletes, contraceptives, knowledge
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-5775OAI: oai:DiVA.org:gih-5775DiVA, id: diva2:1324359
Educational program
Master programme
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-06-14 Created: 2019-06-13 Last updated: 2019-06-14Bibliographically approved

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