Female Athlete Triad
The Female Athlete Triad (FAT) is a syndrome in which eating disorders or low energy availability, amenorrhea/oligomenorrhea and decreased bone mineral density (osteoporosis and osteopenia) are present.
It is especially common in female long distance runners and dancers. All athletes should be aware of the risk of this disorder and maintain a balanced nutrition.
Assessment of bone health is very important to avoid osteoporosis fracture and reduced performance.
“I have an ultrasound in my clinic at The Physicians' Clinic London to give an indication of increased fracture risk in young athletes. We then generally follow up with a DEXA scan and if bone loss is apparent, treatment then involves working with Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Mr Gavin Jennings and Sports Medicine Physician Dr Julian Widdowson in a multidisciplinary setting. Our team has been screening male and female athletes at risk and we recently presented our findings from a cohort of rugby players at an international dance symposium. The evidence we have is that ultrasound does detect fracture risk in elite athletes – even if it can’t give a definitive diagnosis of osteoporosis.”
Early diagnosis can prevent serious long term problems for the athlete.