The Female Athlete Triad is a medical condition often observed in physically active girls and women, and involves three components: low energy availability with or without disordered eating, menstrual dysfunction and low bone mineral density. Female athletes often present with one or more of the Triad components, and an early intervention is essential to preventing progression to serious endpoints that include clinical eating disorders, amenorrhea and osteoporosis. New evidence-based guidelines on management and return to play of the Female Athlete Triad, published recently in both the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine and the British Journal of Sports Medicine, was discussed last week at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, La.
Sports medicine physician and professor Aurelia Nattiv, MD, presented, "Consensus Conference Guidelines on the Female Athlete Triad for Management and Return to Play." The guidelines, titled, 2014 Female Athlete Triad Coalition Consensus Statement on Treatment and Return to Play of the Female Athlete Triad, incorporate a risk stratification algorithm and point system that guides physicians at the pre-participation examination toward clearance and return-to-play recommendations based on the athlete's history and physical exam findings. Dr. Nattiv noted that the guidelines highlight the importance of involving a multi-disciplinary team when treating an athlete for this condition.
"The hope is that the implementation of these guidelines improves bone health and reduces the risk of stress fractures, as well as the progression of disordered eating into a more serious eating disorder," said Dr. Nattiv. "In addition, athletes who are under fueling will be flagged to see a dietitian and follow up with the physician to ensure increase in energy intake. For those needing a psychological evaluation, they will be referred and followed up with by their team physician."
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