ACOG Guidelines Urge Screening for Female Athlete Triad

HealthDay News — All active females should be assessed for components of the female athlete triad, with further evaluation if one or more components are identified, according to a Committee Opinion published in the June issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Researchers from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Committee on Adolescent Health Care discuss the female athlete triad, which includes 3 components: low energy availability, menstrual dysfunction, and low bone density. To be affected by the condition, individuals do not need to show clinical manifestations of all components simultaneously.

The researchers note that regardless of body build or sport, all athletes are at risk for the female athlete triad. All active females should be assessed for triad components, and undergo further evaluation if one or more components are identified. Athletes should be screened for components of the female athlete triad at comprehensive visits for preventive care. Use of the menstrual cycle can identify athletes at risk of the female athlete triad and should form part of the preparticipatory sports physical. In those diagnosed with the female athlete triad, the goal of treatment is restoration of regular menses as a marker of reestablishment of energy balance and bone mineral density enhancement. As the female athlete triad results from energy imbalance, the main intervention is adjusting the energy expenditure and energy availability. When nonpharmacologic treatment has failed, pharmacologic treatment may be considered.

“A team approach involving the patient, obstetrician-gynecologist, sports nutritionist, coaches, parents, and mental health care provider, if indicated, is optimal,” the authors write.

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Committee on Adolescent Health Care. Committee Opinion No. 702 Summary: Female Athlete Triad. Obstet Gynecol. 2017;129(6):1151-1152. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000002109