The Female Athlete Triad Coalition is based on the valuable research and communicative efforts of several key scientific leaders focusing attention on the condition known as the Female Athlete Triad. The Coalition strives to address unhealthy eating behaviors, hormonal irregularities, and bone health of female athletes and active women. We have provided the significant and recent Female Athlete Triad-related research with the goal of raising awareness and gaining support through education and recruitment of professionals with the universal interest in providing successful futures for young women participating in sports and exercise.
What is the Female Athlete Triad?
The Female Athlete Triad is a syndrome of three interrelated conditions that exist on a continuum of severity, including:
1. Energy Deficiency with or without Disordered Eating
2. Menstrual Disturbances/Amenorrhea
3. Bone Loss/Osteoporosis
Energy Deficiency with or without Disordered Eating
An energy deficiency is an imbalance between the amount of energy consumed and the amount of energy expended during exercise. The primary cause of the Female Athlete Triad is energy deficiency. Often, this can involve a conscious restriction of food intake, problems with body image and a high drive for thinness. Sometimes, these conditions can lead to disordered eating, or more serious eating problems, like anorexia or bulimia.
Menstrual Disturbances & Amenorrhea
The most serious menstrual problem associated with the Triad is amenorrhea, defined as no menstrual period for 3 months or more. However, athletes who have irregular menstrual cycles are also susceptible to the effects of the Triad.
Women with the Triad are at higher risk for low bone mass leading to weakened bones, called osteoporosis in its severe form. This type of bone loss can cause an increased risk of fractures, including stress fractures.