Healthy women of reproductive age have a natural hormonal cycle known as the menstrual cycle (MC). The MC affects female athletes in a variety of ways and this project aims to improve the application of knowledge and communication relating to the MC among elite female athletes and their coaches.

Kvinnlig längdskidåkare mot vit bakgrund.

Previous research studies have shown limited knowledge among athletes and coaches in matters concerning menstruation, symptoms, contraception and hormones. This limitation concerns both basic physiology and how coaches work practically in this area; for example, how symptoms are treated or how training can be planned based on a woman's hormonal cycle.

Another significant issue is how communication with and about female athletes is structured, regarding issues that affect hormones, the menstrual/ hormonal cycles, contraceptives and symptoms. These topics are considered by some coaches and athletes as difficult topics to talk about, while research highlights the importance of having conversations about these issues.

This is a multi-disciplinary project that places the athletes and coaches at the heart of the research questions. It is a close collaboration with the Swedish Ski Federation, and aims to improve education, knowledge, communication and ultimately, practices, in relation to the female menstrual cycle.

The first phase of the project is largely qualitative, involving questionnaires, interviews, educational interventions and focus group discussions to identify the current challenges and opportunities for development. The second phase of the project will implement interventions, in order to impact upon behaviour and routines, with an ultimate goal of improving performance and health in our female athletes.

Presentation om menstruationscykeln och kvinnors idrottsliga prestationer av Dr Kerry McGawley
Dr. Kerry McGawley gives a short presentation on how the menstrual cycle can affect athletic performance and how you, as a female athlete, can manage the situation.


Project period



  • Svenska Skidförbundet (längdåkning)

Municipal cooperation

Project leader

Kerry McGawley

Seniorforskare|Senior Researcher


Project members

Max Bergström

Max Bergström