Lydia Ko praised for normalising periods in sport after revealing back treatment was because she was menstruating
Posted On May 5, 2022
One of the top ranking golfers in the world is being praised for openly discussing how her period impacts her performance.
- Female athletes have rarely discussed in public how their periods have impacted them
- Menstruation is part of the monthly cycle where the uterus, or womb, sheds its lining
- In addition to bleeding, it can also cause cramps, bloating, fatigue, nauseau and bowel issues
Lydia Ko revealed in a live TV interview during the Palos Verdes Championship that she was battling a bad back because she was menstruating.
Her honest comment left Golf Channel commentator Jerry Foltz — who asked if she was concerned following her on-course physical therapy — speechless.
“It’s that time of the month — I know the ladies watching are probably like ‘yeah I got you’,” Ko said.
“When that happens, my back gets really tight and I’m all twisted and it’s not the first time [the physical therapist] Chris has seen me twisted, but it felt a lot better after he came.
“So yeah, there you go.”
When Foltz didn’t respond, Ko said: “I know you’re lost for words Jerry.”
The New Zealand golfer, who tied for third place in the tournament, later posted the video to her Instagram account with the caption: “FACTS. Fun way to cap off the West coast swing! Can’t wait to be back.”
Foltz said the interview, which has gone viral, was a “priceless moment”.
“She was real and I was caught off guard,” he said.
Ko has been praised for normalising menstruation, which is rarely addressed in sport.
“Absolutely love this. I’m on that same schedule and felt like an absolute noodle last week. Glad Lydia finally had an honest take on it. Impressive how well she played considering,” German golfer Sophia Popov tweeted.
Menstruation is normal but rarely talked about
Periods present differently in every woman, and for many athletes it becomes an obstacle that affects their performance on the field.
Menstruation is part of the monthly cycle where the uterus, or womb, sheds its lining when a biological female is not pregnant.
In addition to bleeding through the vagina, menstruation can also cause cramps in the lower abdomen or back, bloating, tender breasts, headaches, diarrhea or constipation, nausea, fatigue, mood swings and difficulty sleeping.
Menstruation can last between three to eight days and the blood is collected by sanitary products such as pads, tampons or menstrual cups.
Female athletes have rarely discussed in public how their periods have impacted them.
Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui became the first Olympic athlete to discuss periods when she told a reporter at the 2016 Rio Games that she had not performed well due to the timing of her period.
“It’s because my period came yesterday, so I felt particularly tired. But this isn’t an excuse, I still didn’t swim well enough,” the 20-year-old told a TV reporter at the time.
Former Ireland rugby international Sophie Spence told the BBC in 2020 that more attention needed to be paid to menstruation cycles in women’s sport.
“Only females understand that as much. It is a huge thing and it comes down to more females being involved at a certain level for performances to peak even more within athletes,” Spence said.
“If you are a female in a female sport but are surrounded by men being your coaches then their understanding is a lot different because they do not experience what you are experiencing.