Periods and IPeriods and PMS

Periods and I: Deniese Pereira, Football Player

5 Mins read

In our series, ‘Periods and I’, we talk with women who are making a mark in everything they do, to discuss how they manage and embrace their periods as a part of their lives. What do they do? Is there a special routine? Or is it just like every other day? 

Let’s find out!

We spoke to Deniese Pereira who is one of the three players to be awarded Nua Bloody Good Player of the Week.  We met her at the Official 7’s tournament held in February 2021 in Mumbai where we were one of the associate sponsors for the league. Her story gives us a unique and inspiring look at the women who balance periods and sports. 

1. For how long have you been playing football? What made you want to play the game? 

I have been playing since I was 9 years old and have been playing for almost 10 years now. I started playing football with the boys in my colony before I began training in school. Once, while playing in my building I scored a goal through the keepers legs and that made me extremely excited! I enjoyed playing so much that every day I would come home and tell my parents that I’d like to join the school football team.  They enrolled me the following year and I’ve been training and playing ever since! It’s something that has changed my life. 

2. Did you ever get your periods in the middle of a match? If so, what did you do to manage the situation?

Yes, I have gotten my period in the middle of the game once or twice. Being in a situation like this can be extremely uncomfortable and stressful. Since I came prepared with extra pads, I was able to rush to the washroom during halftime and pull myself together. Not the best situation to be in but I have managed to take care of myself and get back into the game without any of it holding me back.  

3. How do you usually balance your exercise routine and periods? If the two ever happen at the same time what do you do?

There are multiple times I’ve had to balance playing/exercise along with having my periods as I play almost every day of the week.

It’s easier for me to balance the two because I look at exercise as a way to feel better during menstruation.

Although there are times when my mood is severely affected because of my period and it gets difficult to find the motivation to train. When I feel like this, I always push myself to get going and I usually come around, but there are days when I’m unable to do so and decide to rest it out. 

4. What kind of sanitary facilities do you have on the ground or at the stadium or in your place of practice?

As of now, there are extremely poor sanitary facilities at some grounds and stadiums while at some, there has been an improvement. In case of an emergency, there is no easy access to pads to anyone who would need it.

According to me, keeping washrooms clean and easy to use should be an utmost priority as it is extremely important for personal hygiene especially when multiple players are using the same washrooms. 

5. Do you always have a sufficient supply of pads when you need them or have you ever faced a crisis of pads?

I always make sure to carry extra pads with me wherever I go especially when I’m playing or training but there have been times I’ve forgotten to carry one along. When this happens, I’ve been lucky to have people around me who’ve let me borrow an extra one so I’m not uncomfortable. 

6. Do you get period cramps? If they are bad, how do you manage them so that you can get on with your practice or game?

Yes, I do get extremely bad cramps especially on the first two days of my period, and playing at such a time can be very difficult. There have been several times when I’ve had to play with period cramps and I was unable to perform my level best. This is because cramps bring down my stamina and speed and the pain can sometimes be unbearable.  I try and avoid any type of medication while I’m on my period and instead fight through the pain.

Since all my games take place during the daytime, the heat along with the cramps makes it more difficult, but I love the game and wouldn’t want my period to be the reason for my inability to perform. For the same, I make sure to do everything in my power to ensure I’m fit and hydrated to play well.
7. Do you track your periods? If so, then would you say that it has given you an edge over your cycle?

 Yes, I do track my periods with the help of an app. Doing so has given me an edge over my periods as I can stay prepared and plan accordingly if I have a game coming up the same week. Ever since I’ve started tracking my periods it has made things a lot easier. I’m never caught off guard and always make sure that I have pads handy while I’m playing as well as training. 

8. Are you comfortable speaking to your coach about periods?

Yes, in the last year or so I have gotten more comfortable in speaking to my coaches as well as other members of the association about periods. It is easier to speak to my female coaches than the male ones. However, having periods is natural and shouldn’t be a topic that is avoided by anyone.

As per me, periods affect every girl differently and because of that having an open conversation about the same will not only make it easier for the players but also will help them to communicate with their coaches better. 

9. Do you think there is enough conversation around menstruation and sports? If not, why do you think that is, and what do you feel should change? And if yes, what more should we include and how?

Recently, a lot of focus has been brought on mensuration and sports, though, I believe there’s a long way to go until periods can be discussed openly without any awkwardness. In my opinion, this might be because one may feel hesitant to speak about it openly while some may feel judged. The main focus should be on the fact that getting periods is a natural occurrence that none of us are in control of. It’s something every girl goes through and is completely normal. Talking about periods and sharing stories may help girls and women who are uneasy to do so feel more comfortable and connect with fellow girls and women and would relate to situations they’ve faced irrespective of whether it’s on the field or off. Ensuring there are good sanitary facilities and easy access to sanitary pads at grounds will help women feel more comfortable. 

  • As told to Team Nua
Deniese Pereira
1 posts

About author
Deniese Pereira is currently in grade 12, studying at St Xaviers College , Mumbai. Football has always been her passion and she has been playing since she was 9 years old. For her nothing compares to the feeling of playing the game I love the most. She is a state level player and has represented Maharashtra a number of times.
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