Facebook Pixel

Avoid Female Athlete Triad

Rate This

You don’t have to be an athlete to develop the female athlete triad. The triad includes amenorrhea (no periods), osteoporosis, and eating disorders. If you over-train for too long, you are at risk of developing the triad. Don’t turn your body into a total wreck in your quest for weight loss or fitness. The purpose of exercise is to make you more healthy and fit.

I have a friend who has begun to develop stress fractures from over-training and under-eating. She also runs in many races like half marathons and marathons. I have mentioned to her that she is “way to skinny!” Declining health is the warning sign for anyone in an exercise program.

Health risks develop when women use extreme training methods and lose too much weight. "It is generally not dangerous for women to train for and run in marathons, as long as proper nutrition is maintained and precautions are taken," says Michael Lu, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the UCLA School of Medicine.

"The greatest potential gynecologic risks of marathon training for women, involve amenorrhea (no periods), osteoporosis, and disordered eating, in what is commonly called the female athlete triad.”

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMSD), some female athletes see amenorrhea as a sign of successful training. That is not the case. Missing your period can be a sign of decreased estrogen levels which can lead to osteoporosis.

According to NIAMSD, females should look for these warning signs when it comes to exercise and overtraining:

–Missed or irregular menstrual periods.

–Extreme or “unhealthy-looking” thinness.

–Extreme or rapid weight loss.

–Behaviors that reflect frequent dieting, such as eating very little, not eating in front of others, trips to the bathroom following meals, preoccupation with thinness or weight, focus on low-calorie and diet foods, possible increase in the consumption of water and other no- and low-calorie foods and beverages, possible increase in gum chewing, limiting diet to one food group, or eliminating a food group.

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



Get Email Updates

Fitness Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!