Know that amenorrhea and stress fractures are signs of the Female Athlete Triad. Learn the importance of good nutrition.
Understand the powerful impact words can have and that women are different from men when it comes to training.
Be alert to the warning signs and stay involved and informed as to how your daughter is being trained and coached.
For Medical Personnel:
Pre-participation exams in high school and college need to be revamped to help ferret out those at risk. Complete menstrual and stress fracture histories should be taken.
Steps to Recovery:
* The American College of Sports Medicine recommends medical evaluation within three months of the onset of amenorrhea.
* If disordered eating and exercise contributed to amenorrhea, athletes are encouraged to reduce training, increase calorie intake and gain weight. Doctors may also prescribe hormone-
replacement therapy to compensate for estrogen deficiency.
* Amenorrheic athletes must increase their calcium intake.
* Treatment of a diagnosed eating disorder is multidisciplinary and should include a psychiatrist or therapist, a physician and a nutritionist, experts say.
Steps to Consider:
Experts say a host of other changes should be discussed, at least on a sport-by-sport basis:
* Coaches should be required to have a license, said Women's Sports Foundation Executive Director Donna Lopiano. Education in triad issues could be part of the licensing procedure, especially for those outside structured school systems--club, private and Little League coaches.
* Clinics, seminars and camps for female athletes and / or coaches should include a talk on the Female Athlete Triad by a sports nutritionist or doctor, said Fordham University nutritionist Elise Sinagra.
* Female athletes might want to delay sport-specific training; research has shown that those who start training for one sport early in life are more likely to develop eating disorders than those who do not, perhaps because they choose a sport not suited to their body type.
* Participation ages could be increased for certain levels in certain sports, as has been done in professional tennis and Olympic figure skating and gymnastics.