Pediatricians need to question female athletes about their menstrual periods during preparticipation sports exams and regular check-ups, according to the new AAP Policy Statement Medical Concerns in the Female Athlete (

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If the athlete has regular menstrual periods, that is a good indication she is consuming enough calories in her diet, said Mimi D. Johnson, M.D., FAAP.

If periods are irregular or absent, however, it’s likely the athlete is not eating enough.

It is important to realize that amenorrhea is not a normal response to sports, said Dr. Johnson, a member of the AAP Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness and principal author of the statement. Although it’s important to rule out other causes of amenorrhea – like pregnancy and underlying pathological conditions – amenorrhea is usually a warning sign that your patient might have the female athlete triad. The triad consists...

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