A new global survey from PUMA and Modibodi has revealed that one-in-two teen girls are skipping out on sports because of their period. According to the study, teenagers with uteruses are opting out of sporting activities “because of embarrassment, pain or fear of leaks during their period,” a statement on the study shared.
The survey reviewed the experiences of 1,000 girls and women globally and overwhelmingly found that due to discomfort from wearing disposable menstrual products, a lack of education in this space, and the impact of physical pain, there was a strong trend for teenagers to avoid sport altogether.
There is also a strong fear associated with the risk of leaking; particularly during sports. This pressure, combined with the fact that the fitness industry has long struggled to create space for women and their bodies, just adds to the hurdles folks face in accessing sport.
Australian PUMA athlete and AFL Collingwood star, Sabrina Frederick gave a statement on the findings, sharing that although she pushed through and continued her relationship with sport, she wants to see other young girls feel as though that is an option for them too.
“I was one of the ones who stayed in sport. But for many girls, that’s not a reality. Periods shouldn’t stop young girls from participating in sport. These are numbers we need to address, to keep girls in sport longer.”
Periods in sports can be a pain
Although a huge chunk of the global population, and by extension, a huge chunk of our world’s athletes, experience menstruation, periods are hardly ever discussed in the context of sport. Less so, the impact that time of the month can have on your body.
Recently, however, during the Palos Verdes Championship, Lydia Ko spoke openly about the fact that her period was causing her back troubles as she played. The fact that this has made international headlines shows how little attention we give the topic.
There have been studies into whether or not your period cycle impacts your ability to perform athletically, and per certain examples of research, it is believed that there certainly could be. Add to that the psychological strain teenagers experience (as mentioned above), and physical pain, and you’ve got a pretty profound issue. There’s also the barrier of training with breasts, which is another element entirely.
In any case, if we’re going to reduce the likelihood of girls dropping out of sport at a young age, many things will need to change. One such example is better sports-friendly menstrual products, which PUMA and Modibodi have recently attempted.
The PUMA x Modibodi collection consists of 3 styles of active underwear: thong, brief and boyshort. Using Modibodi’s Modifier Technology, the range boasts the ability to wick away moisture and sweat, as well as “lock away” fluid and odours.
Kristy Chong, CEO and Founder, Modibodi shared in a statement that:
“3 in 5 teens skip sport due to fear of leaking or revealing their period which is why we are thrilled to launch this collection with PUMA and together normalize menstruation and tackle the stigma that women can’t be active on their periods or when experiencing any of life’s leaks.
“Our data also shows that 1 in 2 experience discomfort from disposable menstrual products like pads and tampons when participating in sport or physical exercise- so by releasing this range of leak-proof underwear we are hoping to make playing sport on your period more comfortable, more protected, and more possible than ever. Changing the world should be as easy as changing your underwear. Waste-free, leak-free, worry-free protection.”