Female Athlete Triad Syndrome

Female Athlete Triad Syndrome is a constellation of three medical conditions including disordered eating, osteoporosis, and amenorrhea that often goes unrecognized but can create significant and debilitating negative outcomes.

The triad of disordered eating, loss of bone density, and loss of a regular menstrual period make up the female athlete triad syndrome. Many female athletes feel the pressure to have a perfect and thin body. They resort to food restriction, binging and purging, or a combination of other disordered eating strategies to maintain a low body weight.

Many women who have female athlete triad syndrome will display similar symptoms as those who have anorexia nervosia. They become malnourished and this leeches minderals from the bones. Women with female athlete triad syndrome may experience significant bone loss, leading to osteopenia (bone softening) or osteoporosis. Both conditions can lead to fractures, injuries, and debilitation.

Women with female athlete triad syndrome may also experience amenorrhea or the loss of their period. Unfortunately, many people mistakenly believe that the loss of the period is a normal consequence of training.

The exact prevalence of female athlete triad syndrome is unknown but it is estimated to be present in 15 to 62% of female college athletes.

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