45% of Schoolgirls Skip P.E Lessons Due to Their Period

A lack of education about the female body with respect to menstruation is causing problems for girls who are taking time away from sports and other exercises, a recent survey reported.

This research, brought forth to coincide with Women’s Sport Week, is on the heels of Olympic long jump champion Jazmin Sawyers who scrapped a contest due to extreme cramps from her period.

The goal of a campaign for better education about menstrual periods in schools, is to shatter stereotypes thereby creating a safe environment wherein which girls can talk about it.  This has begun and Team GB hockey player Sam Quek is heading it.

Quek has asked for higher end/famous female sports figures to come forth to share their own experience with the subject to assist schools in taking on attitudes through open discussion.

According to the survey, 45 percent of Scottish women asked used their periods as a reason to skip Physical Education (PE) class, even if they were feeling well.  Less than one in five indicated that they had too much discomfort or were too fatigued to participate in physical activity.

The betty for schools programme, a purveyor of free period education information, says this is likely caused by being embarrassed as opposed to actual physical issues being a barrier to involvement in class.

The survey said that the young women were worried about leaking (this weighing in at 42 percent) and about sanitary products being seen or not saying in place.

However, experiences varied and half (51 percent) of the women surveyed in the country said they had experienced periods that were too heavy or painful to take part in sports at some point in their lives.

But 58 percent reported that not doing PE and sports at school due to periods certainly could lead to girls having bad feelings about sport and exercise for women which would be carried into adulthood.  Although, of the respondents numbering two-thirds who said they dreaded PE, 73 percent, nearly three quarters, said that if girls were better educated about how menstruation works they would be more inclined to participate in PE.

In supporting the campaign, Quek said: “I find it really sad that periods – something all women experience for a big part of our lives – are creating a barrier to sport for so many.  We have to work to break down taboos around periods – this starts with elite sportswomen being more open and honest, with schools creating the environment where girls can talk about the changes their bodies are going through.”

One of the campaign’s goals is better understanding of the known exercise benefits during menstruation, which are not sufficiently well known.  Such things as the fact that improved circulation has been found to ease cramps and that the endorphins released during a workout can reduce the perception of pain would be useful during exercise during menstruation are important to consider.  If better benefits were understood about exercise, almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of women asked thought more girls would participate in school sports.

The free information offered by betty for schools is available for both primary and secondary students and is accredited by the English Personal, Social, and Health Education Association.

Becky Hipkiss, education manager at the company, said: “More needs to be done to teach young girls about the benefits of exercise and to help them overcome the embarrassment about this perfectly natural time of the month,” Becky Hipkiss, betty for schools’ education manager said.

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