What is the Female Triad? And, how to avoid it...

The female triad refers to the combination of an eating disorder, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis. A female athlete can suffer from all three symptoms or just one of the symptoms.

Nutrition certifications are often offered with fitness trainer programs. Eating is an important part of fitness and nutrition. Food is fuel. You have to eat to fuel your body to perform well. Many sports such as long distance running, swimming, and gymnastics put a heavy focus on low body weight, with a false perception that a lower body weight will help them perform faster and better. Female athletes often are more prone to creating in imbalance in their diets when they try to lower their body weight. Dieting and increased exercises often creates that opportunity for an eating disorder to occur. Not taking in enough calories affects athletic performance in a negative way. It lowers your energy levels, makes you feel sluggish, and leaves you with increased fatigue. It can also cause dizziness and confusion and decrease your ability to focus and concentrate. If you have an imbalance due to not enough calories and too much exercise, contact a nutritionist or dietician with a background in sport exercise and nutrition. They will be able to safely help you achieve greater female personal health and healthier food habits.

Amenorrhea, a disruption of the female menstrual cycle, is another part of the triad. This can happen from over training, too few calories or eating disorders, or a combination of both. A sports and fitness nutritionist or dietician can help increase the calories enough to begin having a cycle again. Certified fitness trainers can help adjust the workouts to make sure you are not overtraining or doing further damage to your body. In some cases, medical doctors will prescribe estrogen to help boost female hormones to prevent amenorrhea from happening. A medical doctor will be able to determine if that path is right for you.

Osteoporosis happens when you lose bone density. Osteoporosis is very common with athletes who suffer from eating disorders. The body just doesn’t have enough nutrients for proper bone and organ health and puts extra strain on the body. There are specialty certifications for dietitians who work with patients who suffer from the female triad.

As you can see, the female triad often goes together, but can be experienced in one part too. Prevention of suffering from the female triad include making sure that there is a healthy balance between the number of calories coming in and the number of calories being burned. Creating and maintaining a healthy balance can prevent eating disorders, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis. Never try to diagnose yourself with any medical condition. Refer to a sports nutritionist or medical doctor before trying to tackle any of these health problems to make sure you are monitored for a healthy recovery.

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