High School Runner's Battle With Female Athlete Triad Syndrome
High school senior Regan runs year round.
"I really do enjoy cross country and track because I really enjoy running."
The heavy mileage eventually led to an injury. "Every step that I took I had this sharp pain my shin. I realized it's not going to go away if you keep running on it, you should probably go and get it checked out."
Doctors diagnosed the stress fracture and what's called female athlete triad syndrome, which is a combination of three conditions: disordered eating, amenorrhea, or not having a menstrual cycle, and osteoporosis.
Dr. Anastasia N. Fischer who practices in Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Sports Medicine group says, "When we look at every female who has come to see us in sports clinic since really about the beginning of November, we have a rate of menstrual dysfunction of about 14 percent."
Nutrition seems to be the common factor in the triad, “We have girls who kind of tinker with their diets and don't really have enough information to know the math behind their diets. It really is a math equation: calories in, calories out."
Regan says she was not taking in enough calories to compete. "I was only eating about 1200 to 1500 calories a day which is enough to allow you to survive but isn't enough to fuel if you're running a cross country season."
Treatment depends on which element of the triad affects the patient but generally comes down to nutrition. Doctors and nutritionists reviewed Regan's diet and helped her find balance.
The payoff turned out to be her most successful cross country season.
"I ran my fastest time this season which I hadn't done since my freshman year."