Dina Asher-Smith Calls For Research Into How Period Cramps Affect Performance

Photographed by Ruby Woodhouse
Dina Asher-Smith, the fastest woman in British history, has started an important conversation about the way period cramps can affect performance.
Competing in the women's 100m final at the European Championships earlier this week, Asher-Smith was forced to pull up with cramp midway through the race. She wound up finishing in 8th place with a time nowhere near her best.
Though Asher-Smith – a former world champion over 200m – initially attributed the cramp to hydration, she revealed on Friday that it was actually caused by "girls' stuff".
"It is a huge topic for women in sport," she told BBC Sport. "It is something I think more people need to research from a sports science perspective. Sometimes you see girls who have been so consistent have a random dip, and behind the scenes they have been really struggling."
She added: "It could do with more funding because if it was a men's issue we would have a million different ways to combat things."
Asher-Smith has rightly been praised for speaking openly about her period cramps – something that doesn't happen enough in the sporting world.
“One hundred percent there should be more funding,” fellow British sprinter Imani-Lara Lansiquot told The Guardian. "I still think it's quite shocking that it’s taboo. I'm going through it right now. I'm sure all of us have gone through it at some point but we've still not even said anything to each other because it feels like a massive taboo that isn’t discussed.”
It almost goes without saying that any sports science-based research into period cramps could have a significant trickle-down effect, helping us to understand how they affect a person's performance at work, in exams and other aspects of everyday life.
Though cramps spoiled her 100m final at the European Championships, Asher-Smith went on to win a brilliant silver medal in the 200m event on Friday.
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