Aussie Arctic Queen Cate Campbell reveals contraceptive gave her permanent nerve damage and nearly ended her swimming career
Australian swimmer Cate Campbell has revealed she has permanent nerve damage in her right arm after previously using contraception to control her periods while competing for Olympic gold.
Campbell, 30, spoke on her podcast Here if you need as she seeks to end women’s menstrual cycles, a taboo topic of discussion in wider society.
“It’s not something I’ve ever really talked about, but it literally could have ended my career,” she said.
“It really had a big impact on me. “I wanted to see how I could control my periods because I didn’t want to race when I had my period, so I tried to explore a few options.”
Campbell – a four-time Olympian – chose to blend in a progesterone bar in her right inner arm four years ago.
Australian swimmer Cate Campbell has permanent nerve damage in her right arm after using a contraceptive during competitions to control her periods
Campbell, 30, spoke on her podcast Here If You Need as she tries to end menstrual cycles, a taboo subject of discussion
She admitted it went “horribly wrong” – and now has to endure it permanent nerve damage down the right side of her arm.
Campbell added that it’s “so important to talk about women’s health and the things we have to go through and how that affects us.”
The pole sprinter also took to Instagram this week with an accompanying image of severe bruising on her arm.
“In 2018, I suffered a career-ending injury, in part because discussions of menstruation and women’s health issues were taboo,” she wrote.
“Fortunately, this is changing – but there is still a long way to go.”
In October, Campbell also boldly stated that she had “a complete emotional breakdown” just weeks before the Tokyo Olympics, where she won two gold medals.
She courageously spoke about her struggles with mental health, revealing that she was in such a dark place that all it took was a minor electrical discomfort for her to collapse completely.
Campbell grew up in the African country of Malawi before moving to Queensland with her family at the age of nine. She has won five Olympics, four World Championships and six Commonwealth Games gold medals for Australia – moments of terrible lows.
“I started taking medication four weeks before the Tokyo Olympics because I realized I couldn’t control my anxiety and depression,” she told Channel 9’s Today Show.
“I had a complete emotional breakdown because the power went out in my house, and I was lying on the floor sobbing and crying, and I thought, wait a minute, this is not a normal reaction to the power outage. Something’s going on here.
And I think it took me to get to that point, it took me to push myself to my absolute breaking point, before I decided to seek help or support.
“I contacted and made an appointment with a psychologist, and fortunately I was able to get in very quickly and started seeing them regularly.”