Hormonix provides game-changing data for female athletes
A small group of British athletes have been the first in the world to trial an innovative new technology that provides real-time female hormone data to improve training and performance.
The 15 elite athletes from eight different sports have been using Hormonix, which was developed by Mint Diagnostics in partnership with the English Institute of Sport (EIS), to provide detailed insight into their menstrual cycle.
Pentathlon GB athlete Jess Varley, who is based at the University of Bath, was one of the athletes involved in the trial and she explained that the impact has been huge:
“It’s so important for us [as athletes] to know that the volume of training we’re doing isn’t impacting our menstrual cycle. Six months ago, I was really struggling with the symptoms and then I’d really stress about competitions if I knew they were going to fall on a bad week.
“Because of the information we’ve found from the Hormonix trial, it’s helped to get rid of my symptoms completely.
“It gave me the opportunity to try a bit of experimentation with diet and I found that modifying that had a huge impact on the symptoms I was getting. It means that I just feel much more normal all month around, rather than feel good for three weeks and terrible for one week.”
Hormonix was developed to increase the capability of analysing female hormones in high frequency in a non-invasive way, using saliva rather than through needles or blood. The data is returned in a time efficient manner, to allow the athlete and their support staff to act on the results.
The EIS is now also collaborating with Manchester City Women on the use of Hormonix and speaking about being involved in the project, captain Steph Houghton said: “I’m really happy to be able to take part in this study – menstruation has always been a taboo subject, but it shouldn’t be as it’s a key part of life for women, especially those who are professional athletes.
“Throughout my time in the game, there has been a real lack of information and research surrounding female athletes and the effect of hormone levels on performance, and it’s incredibly exciting that we’re able to now do some real work on it.
“Manchester City make sure that we have everything we need to reach our optimum, but the fact that they’re now going a step further into an area where the surface has barely been scratched is so important and speaks volumes about how highly the Club values its women’s team.
“Hopefully, this collaboration can have a real impact on how we tailor our approach to the game around our own individual bodies to grow the levels of elite female sport even further.”
Co-Lead for Female Health at the EIS Dr Richard Burden added: “We need to improve the support of our female athletes and in order to do that, we need to have a much better understanding of the menstrual cycle.
“Working with a range of athletes and sports and with the players and staff at Manchester City Women is providing us with some really valuable data. We look forward to harnessing this information to help female athletes right across the high performance system.”
Dr Stefano Borini, co-founder and CEO of Mint Diagnostics added: “We want to provide hormone data to the users, because hormone data provides key information that can users and athletes but also normal people be on top of their health and wellness.
“The collaboration with the EIS was key and was at the beginning of our journey, we have basically taken a laboratory analysis that requires a scientist and lab equipment and miniaturised it into a small test strip, a cartridge if you like.”
The EIS Female Athlete Programme and SmartHER campaign are committed to developing the science and medicine support to athletes across the high performance system, exemplified by the Hormonix development and, most recently, the collaboration with Manchester City Women.