Female athlete triad refers to the combination of 3 medical conditions—energy availability, menstrual problems, and weak bones—seen in competitive female athletes. Prevention of the female athlete triad is important because the triad can interfere with normal growth and development, cause injury, and result in loss of strength and endurance.

Here is information from the American Academy of Pediatrics about the 3 conditions and general guidance for prevention and treatment.

Energy availability issues (not having enough energy to fuel the body) occur when athletes eat fewer calories than their bodies need for growth, development, and exercise. Some athletes choose to limit their calories to improve performance or appearance. Other athletes are unaware that they aren’t eating enough calories to meet the energy demands of their sport. An athlete may be eating enough for a nonathlete but not enough for an athlete.

For example, if an athlete only eats 2,000 calories per...

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