Dr. Weber describes the treatments for the female athlete triad.
There are treatments, but first of all you have to identify the problem. So once it’s been identified, it usually comes about by injury. So an athlete will come in, a female, and they will have a stress fracture or they’ll have recurrent stress fractures, and so, your radar kind of goes up that this is second stress fracture. The individual’s thin or gives you the sense that there maybe some eating disorders, and so you work with the athlete and try to develop a relationship. And then you start to venture in and start to ask them appropriate questions, which would be, ”Do you think you eat enough? How are you? What’s your favorite eating, if you’re going to party what’s your favorite dessert?”
So you start asking questions like that, and at times you have to separate the parents from the child so that you can actually get some good answers. So once you identify that, then you can start to work with them from a nutritional standpoint. But my experience has been that it usually comes about by actually finding out from the injury and then kind of working backwards.
So, injury happens, have a stress fracture or a couple of stress fractures, end up getting a bone density scan, looking for bone density. And I’ll find out the individual has osteopenia, which means that their bone density is not as strong as it should be at the age level that they are at, and it means that their bone density is low. And then we start really working on nutritional status, and we start to look for signs.
Once we find that out, then we actually start to work with the potential eating disorder clinic if there’s a big eating disorder problem. We may start to think about putting this person on contraceptives, oral contraceptives, to increase their estrogen levels, to help the bone and protect the bone. We look for deficiencies in vitamins, etcetera, and we’ll treat those underlying problems.
About Dr. Weber, M.D.:
Dr. Kathy Weber, the Director of Primary Care/Sports Medicine and Women's Sports Medicine at Rush University Medical Center, possesses a unique expertise with the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal issues. Dr. Weber received her M.D. from Rush Medical College in 1996 and subsequently completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at Rush University Medical Center. After completing her residency, Dr. Weber was asked to remain at Rush for an additional year to assume the prestigious position of Chief Resident of Internal Medicine. She then completed a fellowship in sports medicine at the University of California Medical Center in San Diego.