So you know about cramping, bloating, mood swings, and cravings. Headaches and break-outs. I don’t need to go on. Did you also know that a woman’s menstrual cycle also brings a higher risk for injury? But why?
I talked to Director of Wellness for OrthoCarolina, Jason Boudrie, who has more than 20 years of experience in the health and wellness field, and now oversees OrthoCarolina’s new cutting edge Wellness Center (a novel concept in the Charlotte fitness scene), and this is what I learned. I thought I’d share:
Why is a woman’s body more susceptible to injury closer to her menstrual cycle?
Researchers are unsure as to the reason, though many believe the cause is an increase in estradiol and the amount of a hormone called relaxin that circulates in higher amount before ovulation. Relaxin does just that – allows ligaments to relax and is often talked about during pregnancy. However, there is more relaxin in your body immediately before your period.
Women are up to 10 times more likely than men to suffer an ACL injury– the most common sports injury. As a woman moves through her menstrual cycle, the amounts of progesterone, estrogen, leutinizing hormone metabolites, and estradiol change. Research has shown that a disproportional number of female soft tissue injuries (ACL tears, etc.) occurred in the pre-ovulatory phase (days leading up to ovulation) vs. post-ovulatory. A study by Wojtys et. al. showed 74% of ACL injuries in female skiiers occurred in the pre-ovulatory phase.
Does age matter?
Yes. Postmenopausal women who do not experience the wider variation of hormone fluctuation do not experience injury at the higher rate.
Please add anything else women can do during this time to prevent injury closer to their cycle.
Generally speaking, a consistent, effective, science-based training program that focuses on strengthening the quadricep (thigh) and hamstring muscles can help prevent knee injury. Also, adding balance, power, and agility work can help strengthen and support the knee joint and lessen the chance for injury.
To learn more about OrthoCarolina’s science-based training programs or youth fitness opportunities all geared to Wellness, learn more about their Wellness Center here, or email them here at [email protected]
Matthews, NC 28105