Athlete Triad |Female Athlete Triad Symptoms

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Athlete Triad Symptoms

Athlete Triad Symptoms : The Triad is an association of three clinical disorders, which is observed in physically active women with low-fat percentage.

The first time the triad was talked about was in the 90s of the last century. Nowadays, due to a large number of women who practice sports at a high level, it is increasingly common to find it. Therefore, knowing how to detect it in time and knowing how it can be solved will avoid health problems. Let’s learn more about the Triad.

What is meant by the Athlete Triad?

The athlete’s triad is a medical condition that includes the following symptoms:

1.Low energy availability with or without Eating Disorder (TCA).

2.Alteration of menstrual function.

3.Low Bone Mineral Density (BMD).

The athlete does not have to simultaneously show the three clinical manifestations at the same time, but they can also be presented individually. 
All women athletes are at risk of suffering the triad, regardless of the complexion they have or the sport practiced. For this reason, it is important to pay attention to its three components, and above all, in the case of girls or young people who practice sports intensively and in federated sports disciplines, there must be continued medical reviews.

What symptoms develop in the Athlete triad?

There are many symptoms that can give notice of a possible Triad before it is triggered:

Triad Symptoms




*Stress fractures

*Decreased ability to concentrate

*Cold intolerance, hypothermia, cold and loss of color in feet and hands

*Increase of the parotid glands

*Sore throat

*Erosion of dental enamel

*Bloating, abdominal pain and constipation

*Dry skin, edema on face and extremities

*Dizziness, bradycardia, hypotension

*Chest pain

Energy availability

When the available energy is very low, physiological mechanisms reduce the energy used to perform vital functions such as cell maintenance, thermoregulation, growth, and reproduction, impacting on health. 
Among athletes who practice sports in which the weight is influential, such as gymnasts, long-distance runners, sports by weight category (judo, karate …), etc. it is more usual that the low energy availability, that is, not eating enough, is related to problems of the eating disorder (ACT). On the contrary, in many other athletes, the affectations do not present pathological eating behaviors, but it may be that their low intake is not intentional and the training is very intense. As risk factors, we could find overtraining, inadequate or insufficient rest periods, excessive cult to the body, low self-esteem, etc. Depending on the origin of the low intake, one treatment or another will be carried out.

Menstrual function

When we talk about alterations in the menstrual function we speak of those situations that occur between the normal menstrual cycle (eumenorrhea) and the absence of the menstrual cycle (amenorrhea). In young girls, there may be a delay in the first menstruation (menarche) that is considered primary amenorrhea. There are documented cases, such as that of a British athlete who did not have her first menstruation until after 20 years, or there may be secondary amenorrhea, which is defined as the absence of a menstrual cycle for more than three months.

Bone mineral density (BMD)

Bone mineral density (BMD)

When we speak of a low bone mineral density, we refer to the spectrum between optimal bone health and osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is defined as a skeletal disorder characterized by lower bone mass and, therefore, with a higher risk of fracture. The bone mass and the greater risk of a fracture depend on the density of the internal bone mineral structure, but also on the quality of the protein. 
Osteoporosis is not only caused by an accelerated bone loss in adulthood but also by not accumulating adequate BMD during childhood and adolescence. The acquisition of bone mass occurs between fourteen and fifteen years and the peak of bone mass is in the twenty-thirty years. By the end of adolescence, 90% of adult bone mass has already been obtained. Although genetics play a crucial role, participating in impact sports and diet have a very important influence on bone health in childhood.

Consequences for health

Consequences for health

Low energy availability maintained, with or without TCA, can lead to health problems. Medical problems include alterations in the cardiovascular, endocrine, reproductive, skeletal, gastrointestinal, renal and central nervous systems. 
Alterations in eating behavior are associated with low BMD in athletes, so a low body mass index is a good predictor of low BMD. Athletes with low body fat percentage or low dietary intake are at higher risk of having lower BMD or injury, in addition to the serious psychological consequences that can accompany eating disorders.

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