Are you at risk for Female Athlete Triad syndrome?
The syndrome striking female athletes
Getting basic nutrition right can be hard enough as it is, but if you are an athlete, there are even more complex nutritional factors to consider like food timing, eating around training, losing, gaining and maintaining weight, it can all get very hard.
Being a female athlete adds another dimension again, and it is very important for today’s generation to achieve adequate nutritional intake.
The Female Athlete Triad is a health concern for young active females and involves three interrelated conditions: disordered eating habits, amenorrhea (irregularity or loss of ones menstrual cycle) and decreased bone mineral density leading to osteopenia or osteoporosis.
Symptoms of the triad include, disordered eating behaviour (with or without an eating disorder), fatigue, longer recovery duration, anemia, reduced bone density and irregular periods. Females with the triad are potentially putting their bodies and health at risk of long-term illness.
The triad often starts with dietary restrictions because of pressure to lose weight. This can greatly affect the athlete’s ongoing nutritional status, recovery and sports performance.
Insufficient nutrient intake usually correlates with poorer vitamin and mineral intake affecting bone mineral density, menstrual cycle and overall health too. Osteoporosis and amenorrhea are both serious conditions placing the body at higher risk of fracture and fertility issues.
If a female athlete is suffers from one element of the triad, it’s likely they suffer from other symptoms of the syndrome. Females who participate in sports where a high levels of physical capability is needed are more susceptible to this condition, but also in gymnastics, dancing, diving, and distance running, where there is pressure to maintain a low weight.
Female Athlete Triad can be treated. Adequate nutrition is key, combined with reducing exercise levels to allow the body appropriate recovery time. The Triad is one disorder which certainly highlights how important good nutrition is and pinpoints what can go wrong when adequate nutrition is not being achieved.