Maria Polikandrioti , Athanasia Tsami
The female athlete triad is a syndrome which consists of eating disorders, amenorrhea and osteoporosis. The syndrome is increasing in prevalence over the last thirty years, as more women are participating in sports at a competitive level. The aim of the present study was to review the research data regarding the female athlete triad in order to under- line the significance of the problem.The method οf this study included search of international medical and nursing literature data-bases, for the reason that the female athlete triad has been extensively studied after 1990. The results from the review of relevant studies showed that female athletes who follow hard preparative athletic programmes in which body weight is critical for success, often manifest eating disorder patterns. These lead to dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitarian-ovarian axis (HPO) and as a result to amenorrhea. Hypothalamic amenorrhea can lead to osteoporosis and increased fracture risk. Adolescents may particularly be at risk because it is during this crucial time that females attain their peak bone mass. Conclusively, a course of action that aims at preventing the occurrence of the syndrome is necessary. Prevention of the female athlete triad through education and identification of the athletes at risk may decrease the incidence of long-term catastrophic effects to health. Monitoring from a group of specialists should serve as a cornerstone when planning a program of training and preparation for high athletic performance.
Keywords: female athlete triad - eating disorders, amenorrhea - osteoporosis