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The Female Athlete

The Triad of Disordered Eating, Amenorrhoea and Osteoporosis

Abstract

Over the last few decades, the number of women participating in organised sports has grown dramatically. Participation in sports has led to significant health benefits for these women; however, several medical disorders have become more prevalent as the number of female athletes has increased. In response to the increase in the number of female athletes and potential medical disorders, the American College of Sports Medicine coined the term ‘the female athlete triad’ in 1992. The female athlete triad is a serious syndrome comprising 3 interrelated components: (i) disordered eating; (ii) amenorrhoea; and (iii) osteoporosis.

The female athlete triad is a syndrome that can be prevented. Medical management of the female athlete triad requires a multidisciplinary approach, with early diagnosis and treatment being key factors. More studies are required to determine its causes, prevalence and consequences and to develop an optimal treatment strategy. All individuals, including coaches and parents, who are working with physically active girls and women should be educated about these disorders, and they should develop strategies to prevent, recognise and treat the female athlete triad.

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Correspondence to Robin Vereeke West.

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West, R.V. The Female Athlete. Sports Med 26, 63–71 (1998). https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-199826020-00001

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Keywords

  • Bone Mineral Density
  • Bone Mass
  • Adis International Limited
  • Luteinising Hormone
  • Anorexia Nervosa