How Female Tennis Players Deal With Their Monthly Period

Serena Williams reportedly suffers from severe menstrual migraines.

Serena Williams reportedly suffers from severe menstrual migraines.

While you might be content to curl up in bed with a hot water bottle and a full DVR when you're on your period, elite female tennis players don't get the option. Tennis pros can't miss a beat when it comes to training and competing, which means they have to backhand the pain and annoyance of having their monthly periods without it affecting their performance. Take a few cues from your favorite players and maybe your period won't leave you on the sidelines this month.

Pop a Pill

You are probably all too familiar with the cramps and pain that accompany your "monthly visitor." Luckily, exercise and staying active can actually help reduce period-related pain, but the International Tennis Federation notes nonetheless that taking an over-the-counter NSAID pain relievers or taking a low-dose oral contraceptive can help female tennis players experience less pain so they can get on with practice. Of course, if you want to follow suit, you'll need to see your doc for any prescription medication.

Use Protection

Hello, those tennis uniforms are usually bright white and thus set the stage for potential tennis court drama of a different kind during a monthly period. However, Disney Family has some suggestions for female athlete protection. If a player has time to change a tampon every couple of hours, it will offer protection and discretion under skimpy uniforms. However, if longer sets are in order, pads with wings are the next best option.

Refuel Properly

When you get your period, you're probably super tired and lethargic, right? That's because your body is losing certain nutrients through your menstrual flow. Tennis players don't get to lie down on the job, so it's crucial that they rebalance their bods with proper nutrition and refueling while playing during their periods. The Women's Tennis Association suggests female tennis players increase their iron and calcium intake by 30 percent during menstruation and tournaments so a period doesn't slow them down.

Blame It

If you can't beat 'em, blame 'em -- at least, that's what's happened a few times in the past when female tennis players had their periods. Serena Williams reportedly suffers from menstrual migraines that have delayed her training and negatively affected her performance, while Aussie player Jelena Jankovic blamed her period for a loss against American player Melanie Oudin in 2009. Hey, they're human -- maybe they just needed a day off with a heating pad and a chick flick like the rest of us.

 

About the Author

Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.

Photo Credits

  • Mike Hewitt/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images