Female Athlete Triad


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Abstract

SummaryMenstrual dysfunction is very common in female athletes, with close to 40–60% of freshman college athletes giving a history of menstrual irregularity. Pathogenic eating behavior is also very common in female athletes, and these numbers appear to be on the rise. Both of these disturbances have established morbidity, and eating disorders have a mortality rate as high as 18%. Both anorexia and amenorrhea have also been associated with decreased bone mineral density. For the young athlete, low bone mineral density may put them at increased risk for stress fractures. There may also be a long-term risk for premature osteoporosis. Disordered eating, menstrual dysfunction, and osteoporosis have become known together as the “female athlete triad.” This discussion will discuss these clinical entities, and methods to recognize and treat them. If these abnormalities are sought out and education is provided to the young female athlete, the hope is that these entities can be detected early on and the complications of the triad can be prevented.

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