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Phys Ther Sport. 2011 Aug;12(3):108-16. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2011.04.002. Epub 2011 Jul 13.

Female athlete triad syndrome in the high school athlete.

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  • 1University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, USA.


Female sports participation at the high school level has significantly increased since the 1970s. Physical activity in females has numerous positive benefits, including improved body image and overall health. Unfortunately, a select population of exercising females may experience symptoms related to the "female athlete triad," which refers to the interrelationships among energy availability, menstrual function, and bone mineral density. Clinically, these conditions can manifest as disordered eating behaviors, menstrual irregularity, and stress fractures. Athletes with conditions related to the triad are distributed along a spectrum between optimal health and disease and may not experience all conditions simultaneously. Previous research related to the triad has primarily focused on collegiate and elite athletes. However, mounting evidence demonstrates that the triad is present in the high school population. High school athletes should be assessed for triad components at preparticipation physicals. In addition, parents, coaches, and health care professionals should be educated and informed about the female athlete triad syndrome. In the presence of triad symptoms, further evaluation and treatment by a multidisciplinary team is strongly recommended for the athlete.

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