Thursday, May 17, 2012

Researchers Exam Trait in Some Female Athletes

Doctors coined the term female athlete triad 20 years ago to describe athletes who had decreased bone mineral density (osteoporosis), disordered eating and irregular menstrual cycles.
But athletes like Hana Kahn, 20, a former field hockey player at Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School, are putting a new face on the condition.
Kahn, who now plays field hockey for Middlebury College in Vermont, has had three stress fractures in the past four years — two in her feet, one in her back. For awhile, she had irregular menstrual cycles and low estrogen levels. But birth control pills were able to regulate both.
But she's never been obsessed with her calorie-intake, she said. "I never paid attention to what I was eating. I was kind of along the lines of eating when I was hungry."
Dr. Heidi Prather, associate professor of orthopedic surgery at Washington University, notes how years ago most of the girls and women who were diagnosed with female athlete triad were visibly underweight and had eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

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By: Cynthia Billhartz Gregorian

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