Data Sources: A qualitative review of the literature was performed.
Results: This article provides the clinician with current information relevant to understanding and recognizing female athlete triad in at-risk patients. The components of the triad—amenorrhea, disordered eating, and osteoporosis—are interrelated in multifactorial etiology, pathogenesis, and consequences. Proposed causal factors include inadequate nutrition, menstrual status, training intensity and frequency, body size and composition, and psychological and physiological stress. There should be a high index of suspicion in all females athletes for the presence of and/or increased risk for female athlete triad. An increased awareness of the existence of the problem and its presenting signs and symptoms is the key to screening for this syndrome. The most efficacious treatment lies in its prevention.
Conclusions: Female athlete triad is an interrelated, multifactorial syndrome comprised of disordered eating, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis. It is a common entity among female athletes. Prevention, early detection, and early treatment are absolutely essential to maintain the athletes health into maturity and to prevent the serious consequences of this triad. The long-term effects of some triad components are still unknown.
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