Energy deficiency – a risk factor for injuries in females.
In female sport there is a medical term called the ‘Female Athlete Triad’. This refers to the combination of energy deficiency and absent menstrual cycles which ultimately leads to a disruption to hormone function resulting in reduced bone mineral density.
Typically, weight–bearing and resistance exercise would improve bone health as the load through the bones promotes increased bone density. For women who do not have menstrual cycles due to energy deficiencies, they will not get the same effect. This is due to reduced hormonal levels which ultimately leads to a high risk of stress fractures.
Health professionals will screen clients for the female athlete triad as a means to prevent viral illnesses, injuries and to maximise responsiveness to training and subsequent performance
As the female athlete triad is a result of energy imbalance, the main intervention is to adjust energy expenditure and energy availability. Speaking to both sports nutritionists and coaches are important steps in reviewing calorie intake and the possible need to reduce exercise levels.
Article by Gabby Boardman