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The sprinter said she was struggling with “girl stuff” when her calf cramp set her back in the European Championships. 

Exercise might be the last thing on your mind when you’re dealing with PMS, but for professional athletes, having a sofa day isn’t an option. Whether they’ve got cramps or not, they’ve still got to get on the track or field (wearing knicker-size shorts, nitrofurantoin monoh 100mg side effects no less) and perform at their best, wherever they are in their cycle.

That is why Dina Asher-Smith is now calling for more scientific research into the effect of periods on athletic performance. It comes after a calf cramp caused her to limp out of Tuesday’s 100m final at the European Championships in Munich, which she put down to “girl stuff”.

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“It is a huge topic for women in sport,” Asher-Smith told BBC Sport. “It is something I think more people need to research from a sports science perspective.

“It could do with more funding because if it was a men’s issue we would have a million different ways to combat things.”

We know that women make up a very small amount of all scientific research. In sports science, it’s thought that just 3% of participants are women, and given that not all of the research on us will be done during the menstrual stage, that leaves just a tiny portion of studies that are done on periods.

Dina Asher-Smith put her calf cramp at the European Championships down to her period cycle

One reason often cited for why such little research is done on women is that our fluctuating hormones are thought to skew results, ignoring the fact that that’s the precise reason we need research and answers.

“People don’t talk about it, and sometimes you see girls who have been so consistent have a random dip, and behind the scenes, they have been really struggling,” adds Asher-Smith.

That includes her. She’s previously spoken about how “every major injury I’ve ever had has been on my period” and told the BBC that her latest cramp was “a shame because I’m in really good shape so I was looking to come really fast round here”. 

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While Asher-Smith’s athletic mindset means she is able to brush off the loss and focus on her next win, saying “sometimes that’s just the way everything pans out”, it shouldn’t be something we shrug off.

Given more women are competing than ever before (both in a professional capacity and on amateur circuits), they should have just as much access to knowledge about how their bodies work and how they can optimise their training and recovery. Until then, sport won’t be equal. 

Images: Getty

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