HealthDay News – The American Academy of Pediatrics is urging clinicians to be aware of the “female athlete triad”, including amenorrhea, osteoporosis, and disordered eating, and notes that female athletes presenting with one triad component are at increased risk of developing other components. These findings were recently published in Pediatrics.
The authors of the report discuss what is known about the athlete triad and how doctors can screen for it during routine office visits. “Many [clinicians] are unaware that amenorrhea is associated with low BMD and stress fractures and how appropriate EA plays an important role in the prevention of bone health consequences,” they state.
Doctors can ask a number of questions involving eating habits and views, menstrual period patterns, and orthopedic issues such as stress fractures. Depending on the answers, the physician can decide what to do next. For instance, if a girl has had stress fractures without any increase in training and has irregular menstrual periods, testing bone health may be in order.
“I think it’s important for parents to understand that kids do not need to have an eating disorder to be affected by the triad,” report coauthor Amanda Weiss Kelly, MD, division chief of pediatric sports medicine at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, told HealthDay. Getting too few calories with intense training can impact bone health and lead to stress fractures and menstrual disorders even without an eating disorder.
Weiss Kelly AK, Hecht S. Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness. The female athlete triad. Pediatrics. 2016 Jul 18. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-0922 [Epub ahead of print]