Female Athlete Triad

December 8, 2021

The female athlete triad is something I experienced in my younger years, but didn’t realize until recently.  Many girls and women participating in various sports go through this and never even know.  

The female athlete triad or “triad” refers to 3 different but interrelated conditions including low energy availability, menstrual dysfunction and low bone mineral density.

Low energy availability refers to too little food to support the body's functions, which may or may not go hand in hand with an eating disorder.  As a result of undernutrition, absence of menstrual cycle occurs which lowers estrogen levels. This low level of estrogen leads to bone reabsorption and low bone mineral density.  As you can see, this snowball effect can be extremely harmful to the health of females.

Women experiencing the triad can have a variety of symptoms including:


➡Decrease in performance 

➡Longer recovery times

➡Increase in injuries, particularly stress fractures

➡Loss of muscle

➡Absence of or abnormal periods

➡Decreased concentration, coordination and focus

If you think the triad is affecting your health or someone you know, getting in touch with a nutritionist specializing in sports nutrition is key.  They can work to help your understand your symptoms and how your fueling habits may or may not be supporting your current training routine, and help you make a plan for fueling your body for optimal performance.