[Dominique Stasulli is an Athletic Development Intern at Athletic Lab]
Female athletes are notoriously susceptible to more exercise-induced health consequences in relation to their male counterparts, simply by virtue of their genetic anatomy and physiology. The three most common and worrisome disorders include iron deficiency anemia, amenorrhea, and stress fractures, each of which will be covered in depth below. Extra precautions need to be taken when undergoing a heavy training load in order to avoid these potentially debilitating disorders.
Anemia is defined as an insufficient amount of healthy red blood cells in circulation, and it is frequently associated with iron-deficiency (1). A potential source of the anemia may be blood loss from the gastrointestinal and urinary tract after intense exercise, a result of transient ischemia from the vasoconstriction of splanchnic (GI) and renal vessels during exercise (2).The maximum amount of oxygen that can be carried in the blood is determined by the amount of the oxygen-carrying protein, hemoglobin, present in the blood. Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin, and so an iron deficiency places a greater demand on the cardiovascular system as a result of the reduced oxygen carrying capacity. Athletes are more at risk for iron-deficiency than the general population, with female endurance athletes being in the greatest danger (3). Common symptoms include fatigue, irritability, moodiness, headaches, and impaired concentration, potentially worsening to lightheadedness upon standing, pica (non-food cravings, such as ice), brittle nails, sore tongue, and shortness of breath (1). Iron-supplementation with ferrous sulfate is highly recommended for female endurance athletes and correction of this deficiency can lead to enhanced performance and health status.
Amenorrhea is a disorder of absent menstruation in females, characterized by three or more consecutive missed cycles (4). High-risk lifestyle […]
Athletic Lab is the premier Sport Performance and Fitness Training center in North Carolina. Located in Cary, in the heart of the Triangle, we offer a variety of services including Sport Performance training for developmental to elite athletes, and Performance Fitness training including Cary CrossFit.