The female athlete triad

Am Fam Physician. 2000 Jun 1;61(11):3357-64, 3367.


The female athlete triad is defined as the combination of disordered eating, amenorrhea and osteoporosis. This disorder often goes unrecognized. The consequences of lost bone mineral density can be devastating for the female athlete. Premature osteoporotic fractures can occur, and lost bone mineral density may never be regained. Early recognition of the female athlete triad can be accomplished by the family physician through risk factor assessment and screening questions. Instituting an appropriate diet and moderating the frequency of exercise may result in the natural return of menses. Hormone replacement therapy should be considered early to prevent the loss of bone density. A collaborative effort among coaches, athletic trainers, parents, athletes and physicians is optimal for the recognition and prevention of the triad. Increased education of parents, coaches and athletes in the health risks of the female athlete triad can prevent a potentially life-threatening illness.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amenorrhea* / diagnosis
  • Amenorrhea* / etiology
  • Amenorrhea* / therapy
  • Anorexia Nervosa* / diagnosis
  • Anorexia Nervosa* / etiology
  • Anorexia Nervosa* / therapy
  • Bulimia* / diagnosis
  • Bulimia* / etiology
  • Bulimia* / therapy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sports*
  • Teaching Materials