Analysis: The Female Athlete Triad

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Abstract As more female adults start to engage in physical activity, more are also susceptible to the components of the Female Athlete Triad. The Female Athlete Triad consist of three main components, energy availability or unavailability, menstrual disorders and low bone mineral density. Consequences are direr and far more long-lasting for youths undergoing puberty. Thus, it is critical to analyse the sporting practices and highlight the risks involved. The risks can be divided into internal and external factors. Internal factors that generate from within include low self-esteem, high competitiveness and puberty changes. External risks includes type of sport, high expectations of others and training environment. From these risk, prevention…show more content…
These components are inter-related and the consequences of having these symptoms can be serious. With disordered eating, comes problems pertaining to energy availability for expenditure, which might directly affect the menstrual cycle and in turn, this might eventually be detrimental to the youth’s bone development. Therefore, to prevent or treat it, it is essential to first understand the components. From 2007 onwards, studies or research have been based on the redefined spectrum of the Triad. From figure 1, it can be observed that the three components are now represented with a range from its ideal state to its extreme case. Availability of energy ranges from optimal to low, menstrual conditions ranges from eumenorrhea to functional hypothalamic amenorrhea and bone conditions ranges from optimal state to osteoporosis. The introduction of the spectrum model allows for athletes who are at risk or who displays subclinical abnormalities to be possibly identified and attended to. In turn, this early identification could prevent athletes from harming their bodies to a state of irreversible repair. Existence of one or more components of the triad, alone or in combination, poses a health risk for the physically active and athletic female (Lanham-New et al., 2011). Therefore, understanding this…show more content…
From the spectrum of the female triad, menstrual state ranges from the ideal state of eumenorrhea to the other extreme case of functional hypothalamic amenorrhea. Eumenorrhea refers to normal, regular and recurring menstrual cycle of about 28 days. Amenorrhea is defined as the interruption of the menstrual cycle. This could be a result of the fluctuations or constant lack of sufficient energy, causing a decrease in the gonadotropic hormones from the hypothalamus. Consequently, as the gonadotropic hormones stimulates release of estrogen from the ovaries, a decrease will then directly lead to a drop in estrogen level. Without sufficient estrogen, a female’s menstrual cycle will then be disrupted, become irregular or stop totally (Loucks, Mortola, Girton & Yen, 1989). Thus it is critical for the athlete to seek help from physicians once they notice that something is

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