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Supporting female performance in sport and fitness
Supporting female performance in sport and fitness

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5 Hormonal contraception or natural cycle? An individual choice

The image shows a female with a puzzled look on her face. Above her is a question mark while over each should are arrows pointing opposite directions indicating that she has an important decision to make.

At the time of writing in 2021 there have been no guidelines produced for athletes about the use of hormonal contraceptives and their influence on athletic performance, because the research shows that any differences in performance are very small (Elliott-Sale et al., 2020). As a result it comes down to individual choice, and each individual athlete experiences of their natural cycle. This would include their reasons for using hormonal contraception and their ability to find one that suits them, physically and emotionally as well as any side effects they may experience.

Information and understanding around contraception empowers women to make informed decisions that are right for them, in the context of their life and their sport. Importantly, hormonal contraception is a medication, and what and how it is used should always be discussed with a healthcare professional, such as a GP. There are good resources and information available online to help women make informed decisions, such as The Lowdown [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .