Physio Sessions Online
Dr. online consultation
+91 9910302876

Female Athlete Triad

Healthy lifestyle is important to for all. Regular exercises and proper nutrition forms a norms for all athletes. It is well known that girls who regularly exercise, workout and are involved in any kind of sports, perform better at school, competition and overall have better personality as compare to those who do not participate in any Sports or physical activity.


The female athlete specially younger age who are involved in sports and follow it intensely some time are likely to miss out on proper nutrition and may suffer a menstrual dysfunction resulting in low energy levels leading to a condition called female athlete triad. This triad has three components

  • due to low calcium levels in bone they have osteoporosis,
  • body weakness due to disordered eating habits and
  • menstrual irregularity.


Disordered Eating Habits


The root cause of this is mainly athlete trying to shed weight in order to improve her performance. In doing so many kind of foods are avoided and sometime skipping of meals. At times the body balance is disturbed and they suffer from extreme condition called anorexia nervosa where in the athlete is not able to eat and has associated psychological problems.


Menstrual Irregularity – Amenorrhoea


The combination of extreme exercises and very strict diet control results in lowering weight and disturbing the hormonal balance of body. Estrogen a female hormone responsible for menstrual cycle gets disturbed as a result the menstrual cycle starts to become irregular to start with but later may stop completely called Amenorrhea.
Some young athlete pursuing athletics with stringent diet plan may not even start the menstrual cycle at teen age while others might start with and then have irregularity in cycle which may stop completely.
Some irregularity of menstrual cycle in young athlete and teenagers is common at the starting point of the cycle but then within a few months it stabilises and becomes normal. Not all missed cycles are to be taken as female athlete issue but persistent irregularity leading to it amenorrhea after onset of menstrual cycle may indicate female athlete triad.


Bony Deficiency – Osteoporosis


Cutting down down on diet leads to poor nutrition which also includes low or very low calcium intake by Athlete. This coupled with low oestrogen production, leads to reduced bone calcium mineral deposit hence poor bone formation reducing bone density and after a certain limit it becomes a problem known as osteoporosis. This condition predisposes them to bony issue like fracture.


Many athlete and coach have this misconception that losing weight and becoming lighter will improve their performance. The fact is that to improve your performance you need to increase the lean mass that is muscle and that is heavier than fat. Trying to lose weight is counter-productive as it starves the muscle and reduce their vitality and negatively affect their performance.


The other reason is that in many sports like boxing weightlifting the athlete is classified to different category by weight, that also encourages them to lose weight in order to fit in lower category. Some other sports like gymnastics, ballet, figure skating by default propagate lean and thin body which forces athlete to lose weight.


Teenage is a very important time in life for bone health as this is the time when bone mass is being built and this is what will dictate how persons bones will be in 60s or 70s. If due to eating disorder the peak bone density achieved by a person is low it may affect bone health in later part of life.


The pursuit for perfection may some time result in poor eating habits and low self-esteem resulting in Female athlete triad.