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Female Athlete Triad: Past, Present, and Future

Matzkin, Elizabeth MD; Curry, Emily J.; Whitlock, Kaitlyn PA-C

Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: July 2015 - Volume 23 - Issue 7 - p 424–432
doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-D-14-00168
Review Article

After the passage of Title IX in 1972, female sports participation skyrocketed. In 1992, the female athlete triad was first defined; diagnosis required the presence of an eating disorder, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis. However, many athletes remained undiagnosed because they did not meet all three of these criteria. In 2007, the definition was modified to a spectrum disorder involving low energy availability (with or without disordered eating), menstrual dysfunction, and low bone mineral density. With the new definition, all three components need not be present for a diagnosis of female athlete triad. Studies using the 1992 definition of the disorder demonstrated a prevalence of 1% to 4% in athletes. However, in certain sports, many female athletes may meet at least one of these criteria. The actual prevalence of athletes who fall under the “umbrella” diagnosis of the female athlete triad remains unknown.

From the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA.

Dr. Matzkin or an immediate family member has received research or institutional support from Zimmer. Neither of the following authors nor any immediate family member has received anything of value from or has stock or stock options held in a commercial company or institution related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article: Ms. Curry and Ms. Whitlock.

© 2015 by American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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