Dr. Dugan explains if women can exercise too much.
Sure they are. There’s something called the female athlete triad, and triad of course means three things, so women that over-exercise and have problems with their eating, they may have a frank eating disorder like anorexia, or they may just be restricting what they’re eating and then have problems with losing their regular cycle, their regular estrogen production of their body, and then they can end up with bone loss, osteoporosis, almost like a woman who is post-menopausal.
So we do think that exercise is incredibly beneficial to young women. It's shown that if you exercise you are more likely to graduate high school if you are on a team, for instance, but if you overdo it, it’s really a crucial thing that can cause negative health problems.
I think that recently the data shows us that it’s really the energy balance that’s the biggest issue. So if you’re expending a lot of energy, you need to be taking in that many calories, and if you end up in a negative where you’re expending more than you’re eating, that’s when you start to have this problem with the female athlete triad.
About Dr. Dugan, M.D.:
Dr. Sheila A. Dugan, M.D., is Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Rush Medical College, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois. She is a faculty member of the Department of Neurosurgery and the Department of Preventive Medicine. She is co-medical director of the Rush Program for Abdominal and Pelvic Health.
Dr. Dugan is multi board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation, electrodiagnostic medicine and pain medicine. She is highly skilled in neurological and sports-related rehabilitation. Prior to medical school, she received her physical therapy degree from Northwestern University in 1986. She's currently pursuing development of a program focused on women's musculoskeletal care, including both their medical and rehabilitation needs.