Women Have No Adequate Representation For Sports Medicine Research

A group of researchers has unveiled a disturbing fact about how sports medicine is being studied: there’s not enough information about women.

U.S. and UK experts congregated to talk about the huge flaw in how physical performance and athletes were studied. According to experts, women are still not being presented in relevant studies, even though the gender gap in sports participation has been narrowing.

Most studies that talk about how to train stronger and smarter put attention on male athletes. A look at more than 1,300 studies from 2011 to 2013 found that only 39 percent of women out of more than six million were surveyed or examined.

And, apparently, the issue stems from scientists inability to handle a woman’s menstrual cycle.

According to the paper’s authors, the menstrual cycle’s difficulties have been a key obstacle in including women in clinical trials.  And, when women were added to a study, they were included at the start of their cycle. It’s why the scientific community knows next to nothing about how a woman’s period can impact her training routine.


Today, more women are being included into athlete research, but still more research needs to be carried out on how exactly the menstrual cycle can impact a woman’s performance.

Another issue was that drug trials could hinder a woman’s unborn babies. Researchers also wanted to get significant results with “less funding and few participants”, which did not include women since they’re seen as more physiologically variable than their male counterparts.


What was also found that women and men don’t respond the same to drugs and that they are two times as likely to have a bad reaction. This is why 80 percent of medications have been taken off the market – they created undesirable side effects for women who used them.

The editorial on this topic was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.