Are gymnasts always late bloomers?
But one of our readers wanted to know specifically about gymnastics. Here's her question:
My gymnastics coach said that gymnasts usually have very very irregular or late periods. Even though I work out 4 hours 3 days a week is that considered extreme cases of olympic workout? Could it be true what she said? Ps She said since they have less body fat:/ plz answer this jemma or someone who really knows what they're talking about!!!!!!!!!!
There's nothing about doing gymnastics that will automatically make a girl's period come late or make it irregular. Here are some reasons why your coach may have said that:
1) Gymnastics is a sport where it can be helpful to be smaller, so it might seem like girls who are gymnasts are also late bloomers. But they may have been late bloomers even if they didn't do gymnastics. Remember that puberty can start as early as age 8 and as late as 14. (First periods usually come about two years after a girl starts developing breasts.)
2) Having excess body fat (being overweight) can be a factor that makes a girl's first period come earlier. Girls who compete in gymnastics are unlikely to have excess body fat.
3) Some girls who compete in gymnastics (and other sports) can get a combination of health problems called female athlete triad. The three problems are: They stop getting their periods, they have "disordered eating," and they have weak bones.
An eating disorder can take different forms. A person might eat too little or eat too much. When your body doesn't get the nutrition and energy it needs, you won't grow properly and your body might not work like it should.
Learn more about Female Athlete Triad and ask your parent or doctor if you have more questions about gymnastics and your health.
Any gymnasts out there? What do you think about this issue?