Periods and puberty – why is this not spoken about

Optimal Period is here to support you understand your menstrual cycle.

Stomach cramps, crazy emotions, tired and fatigued, sore boobs, how about those food cravings – any of these familiar to you? There are so many different menstrual related symptoms but working out which ones are caused by your menstrual cycle can be a challenge. We are here to provide help to understand which symptoms are caused by your menstrual cycle and most importantly provide information and advice of how you can manage these.

Our support and information are underpinned by scientific research, along with experience working with multiple Olympic athletes, sports and organisations. But also my own experience. I have always enjoyed sport and being active, but taking part in competitive sport whilst growing up, and even still now, can offer many additional challenges. My period never stopped me, but I certainly did not always perform at my best because of it. My cycle was irregular to start, sometimes light, sometimes heavy (if only I had known these things were all normal), heavy legs and tiredness were common just before I came on my period (I thought this was just from training) and the CRAMPS. I was fortunate to only experience sore boobs a couple of times when I first started my period.

There are so many things I wish I had known when I started my period:

It is normal for it to be irregular for the first couple of years.

Periods can vary in heaviness of bleeding to start.

Stomach cramps, sore boobs, tiredness and fatigue, changes in mood, emotions are all normal BUT there are ways to manage them.

Most importantly I wish someone had spoken about it, to know what I was experiencing was normal, and that I was not the only one struggling especially in sport. Advice to help manage training, competing and symptoms would have been AMAZING.

My mission is to change this, girls and woman should not feel alone, be struggling or unaware but its ‘regular’ or ‘irregular’ when it comes to starting a period and throughout the life span.

Get in touch if you have any questions about periods and puberty or see our resources for more info.

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Dr Natalie Brown

Hey! I am Natalie, a research associate exploring all things menstrual cycle and sport related, whether that is Olympic performance or factors affecting participation in physical activity. When I am not talking about the menstrual cycle, I love climbing and being active outside. I have a background in physiology and research related to hormonal responses in athletes (male and female), combined with my own personal experience in sport, I am passionate to share information on the menstrual cycle with you.

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5 things you can do right now to

Take charge of your menstrual cycle symptoms

We know the menstrual cycle can be a massive inconvenience, and something you just put up with and struggle through. But what if this doesn’t have to be the case? Add your details below to download the free PDF guide to taking charge of your menstrual cycle.

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