Interventions on menstruation have occasionally come from high-profile athletes choosing to go public, such as tennis player Heather Watson at the 2015 Australian Open. However, the issue of stress incontinence is widely considered taboo, despite being relatively common.
Ross is adamant that stress incontinence can often be easily prevented but believes that open dialogue is the key to breaking down the stigma.
“It is a really important area that hasn’t been spoken about much before and it is vital that we allow coaches, athletes and their support teams to create a safe space where it is OK to talk about this stuff,” she said.
“It is highly manageable but if you are worried about stress incontinence happening, it is unlikely you will be able to give 100 per cent to your sport all the time. We need to open up the conversation about this.
“Our approach has been to open up the conversations with everyone involved, athletes, coaches and support staff, and to give them all this information. Fundamental to having this conversation is having the power.”
One key area has been involving both male and female coaches in workshops away from the athletes, in order to create an environment where all sides can learn to feel comfortable talking about conditions that can often be a source of embarrassment.
Breast health is also an area where athletes are encouraged to attend workshops with leading researchers. Often the solution is as simple as being correctly fitted for a sports bra. Athletes have often had to resort to solutions such as wearing two sports bras at once, which can cause discomfort.