Friday, May 23, 2008

The Female Athlete Triad

I was reading on a blog last night about the change in definitions of the Female Athlete Triad. I think it is interesting (and good) that the changes in definition have occurred, especially since so many professionals are hoping to change the anorexia and bulimia requirements in the upcoming DSM-V. The commonality is that all these professionals want a more broadened criteria as they have realized the majority of people fall into the ED-NOS category. For example, the criteria of amenorrhea for anorexia is one that may be revised. A recent study asking whether there was clinical significance of amenorrhea for diagnosis of anorexia concluded that it was not a measure of severity. The abstract can be read here. Some may say this is just a semantic/labeling issue (true to an extent), however, in this day and age, it is sometimes the only way to obtain sufficient treatment. And even then, it is sometimes not enough.

It looks like the updated 2007 Female Athlete Triad has begun this change. When the Female Athlete Triad was first coined in the early 1990s, the criteria for an athlete was eating disorder at the top of the triangle, followed by amenorrhea, and osteoporosis. If an athlete had an eating disorder, then there would be investigation into the other two criteria as it was perceived everything was related. Now, however, the terms are energy availability, menstrual function, and bone mineral density. In this issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine takes its official position.

Personally, I think this was a good move. Although it means that there are more people who fall under these guidelines, it also means that there could be better recognition of the problem. Thus, hopefully, early intervention and treatment can be obtained.


KC Elaine said...

this was very enlightening! I hate that pesky (and often serious) amenorrhea requirement.

Tiptoe said...

KC, I'm glad you found the post enlightening. Thanks for linking me in your blog ;-)