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Menstrual cycle
ups the risk of injury

Menstrual cycle
ups the risk of injury

Women are more likely to hurt themselves at specific times in their menstrual cycle, according to findings from London's Portland Hospital reported by the BBC.

By surveying 1,000 osteopaths and studying 17 women with a regular menstrual cycle, researchers found that fluctuating hormone levels that affect the muscles and ligaments increases a woman's risk of injury. Results showed that 21% of female patients reported pain in days 12 to 14 of their cycle and 17% in days 24 to 26. The majority of pain reported mid-cycle was lumbar or pelvic, compared with lumbar or neck pain at the end of the cycle.

Midway through the cycle, the level the hormone estrogen, which is responsible for the strength in a woman's muscles and ligaments, drops dramatically. At the end of the cycle, the hormone relaxin rises. Relaxin allows the cervix to open, but also makes ligaments go lax.

In general, the body's tissues appear to be vulnerable midway through the menstrual cycle, while the ligaments are at greater risk at the end.

Lead researcher Dr. Stephen Sandler told the BBC: "I had noted that, whereas men often came to me with injuries due to sport or overexertion, women often couldn't explain why simple acts like reaching down to pick something up had caused injury and pain."

Rebecca Morrison, from the British School of Osteopathy, said that previous studies have shown that female athletes were more prone to injury at certain times in their cycle. "This is significant for women everywhere who can plan their schedules around their cycles and avoid potentially painful injuries," she told the BBC. (The Advocate)

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