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Female Athlete Triad or FAT is a cluster of symptoms in active female population due to energy deficit leading to irregular or absent periods,poor bone health and increase injury risks.Girls who are growing, are at risk for low energy because their bodies require more energy to perform necessary functions for normal development.

The 3 medical conditions related to the triad are:

  • Disordered eating leading to anorexia,vomiting
  • Amenorrhea- abnormal, irregular, or absent menstrual cycles.
  • Osteoporosis- lead to impaired bone health, increased risk for fracture.

Sometimes girls are at a relative energy deficiency(RED) because they are burning more calories than they are taking in. Other times this is intentional due to disordered eating patterns and the pressure to “stay thin” compounded by the society. Either way, it is important that the amount of energy being used is always less than the amount of energy taken.For a growing teenage athlete, bone density can be compromised if there are deficiencies in protein, vitamins and calcium.

Signs and Symptoms to pick:

Coaches, parents and PE teachers should be aware of the following warning signs:

  • Marked weight loss
  • Obsessive stress about weight, body image and food intake
  • Shin splints that don't heal
  • Reduced participation or loss of interest in sports

Early detection and prevention is necessary and hence it is important to educate and keep an update with school PE teachers, school nurses,mothers of highly athletic teenage girls ,coaches, athletic trainers, dieticians and Physical Therapists.

Exercise and Nutrition will be the key components to address this condition wherein your Physiotherapist will help your kid in designing an exercise program by detailed assessment of her flexibility, strength and her sports specific goals.

He/She will also assist you in prescribing a plan to strengthen your joints and bones, muscles,ligaments in conjunction with a Sports Nutritionist to better the energy intake by avoiding compulsive dieting by the young athlete.

Physiotherapy can keep young athletes healthy, strong and safe, but success begins with the right attitude towards the inner and outer self. Every physically active female should take three simple precautions to protect against the triad:

  • Eat healthy meals at regular intervals. Use nutritional supplementation if necessary.
  • Discuss menstrual irregularities (or sudden fluctuations in body weight) with your physician.
  • Track exercise and calorie expenditure.

Physiotherapy is an important part of long-term treatment of this condition. In fact, physiotherapy can help most individuals to live a healthy, improved quality of life.

Author by N/A, Dec 28, 2018, Female Athlete


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