Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Preventing and Overcoming the Female Athlete Triad

Female athletes are at risk of developing the Female Athlete Triad, which includes disordered eating, loss of menstrual periods (amenorrhea), and osteoporosis. The loss of calcium and bone associated with the triad can increase the risk of stress fractures and other injuries. The triad affects all aspects of the individual’s health and can lead to life-threatening situations.

What can you do to avoid the triad or overcome it?

1. As an athlete, your body NEEDS fuel to perform. Do not skimp on foods or skip snacks. Be sure to eat calorie dense and nutritious foods to help your body fuel its daily processes and your training. Keep in mind, as a female, you probably need to eat more than you currently think you should and definitely more than your non-athlete peers.

2. For an athlete, the scale does NOT give an accurate picture of how healthy your weight is. Muscle weighs more than fat. As an athlete, you may weigh more than you think you should, but have a very low percent of body fat. Use body composition as an indicator of how healthy your weight is.

3. Work with a registered dietitian to determine how many calories you need a day and to get help choosing foods to meet these needs.

4. It is easy to forget about your menstrual cycle, especially when you have the busy life of a student-athlete, but don’t. Pay attention and track your cycles to be sure they are regular. If you miss more than 3 in a row, or they become very irregular, talk with your trainer and a doctor. Irregular cycles or loss of cycle (amenorrhea) can lead to a host of health issues.




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