'Did you lose because you had your period?'

    Story highlights

    • British player Heather Watson loses match due to 'girl things'
    • Sparks global debate about whether menstruation is sport's 'last taboo'
    • Openness applauded by some, others concerned it could damage equality

    This article was originally published in January, 2015

    (CNN)How much information is too much information? When British tennis player Heather Watson said in a post-match interview that she lost her Australian Open round due to "girl things," she sparked a debate about menstruation that quickly spread across the world.

    "Has sport's last taboo been broken?" wondered commentators, after the 22-year-old described feeling "light-headed" and "low on energy," putting it down to her period.
      "We talk about sex quite openly, we talk about breast enlargements, we talk about so many things that people don't even bat an eyelid about these days," former British number one tennis player, Annabel Croft, told CNN.
        "Yet this particular subject never gets discussed. And I can understand why -- it's a bit uncomfortable viewing isn't it?" said the founder of her own line of leak-proof underwear called "Diary Doll."
        "But the fact that Heather said what she said in a very innocent, charming way, I think it made people think 'wow' this does happen to athletes at that particular time of the month."
        With the world's media scrutinizing their every move, it often feels as though nothing is out of bounds when discussing the physical and mental conditions of elite athletes.
        Indeed, Argentine footballer Javier Mascherano didn't bat an eyelid as he told reporters he'd torn his anus in a goal-saving stretch during last year's World Cup. While English cricketer Michael Yardy flew home early from an international tour in 2011, revealing he was suffering depression.
        "Women's business"
        So why the silence when it comes to a fact of nature that affects most female athletes -- and in Watson's case apparently influenced the outcome of her match?
        "Even grown women in the office, when they make the walk from their cubicle to the bathroom discreetly tuck a tampon or pad up their sleeve or decide whether to carry their purse with them -- not to hide the blood itself, but the fact that they're bleeding," Karen Houppert, author of "The Curse: Confronting the Last Unmentionable Taboo, Menstruation," told CNN.