For all young athletes, having the necessary energy to participate in sports — while also supporting a growing body — is imperative to their overall health. The Female Athlete Triad is a well-known consequence of low energy availability in female athletes and can result in menstrual dysfunction and decreased bone mineral density.
Recently, the focus has turned from the Triad to a more inclusive term; Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport, or “RED-S.” This syndrome also appears to be a result of low energy availability, but has health consequences other than menstrual dysfunction and bone health in females and acknowledges that relative energy deficiency can happen in males.
Since the passage of Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, the number of girls competing in high school sports has increased from 295,000 to nearly 3.2 million — with more women playing collegiate sports than ever before.
As these numbers continue to rise, and girls and young women become more empowered through sports, awareness of health issues specific to female athletes has become increasingly important. One issue, the Female Athlete Triad (Triad), has gained increasing awareness as more athletes have come forward about their struggle with the condition.
Dr. Kathryn Ackerman, medical director of Boston Children’s Female Athlete Program, offers the following clinical strategies for avoiding the Triad and keeping athletes healthy.
The Female Athlete Triad is comprised of three, interrelated components — low energy availability with or without disordered eating, menstrual dysfunction and low bone mineral density.
According to Kathryn Ackerman, MD, MPH, medical director of Boston Children’s Female Athlete Program, patients may present with one or more of these components. However, the challenge is that sports medicine physicians and other clinicians have varied approaches to management. …Read More