Female Athlete Triad Awareness Among Multispecialty Physicians



The female athlete triad (Triad) is a serious condition with lifelong consequences seen in physically active females. Prior studies assessing Triad knowledge among coaches/athletic trainers reported surprisingly low awareness results. Our aims were to (1) determine the percentage of physicians across multiple specialties who had heard of the phrase “female athlete triad” and (2) determine the percentage who can properly diagnose or have a high comfort level appropriately referring these patients.


Via electronic survey, we recruited medical staff, residents, and fellows at three large academic institutions across specialties to answer an eight-item test on Triad awareness and knowledge.


A total of 931 physician participants were recorded. Of the total responders (40 % male and 60 % female), 23 % were residents, 12 % were fellows, and 65 % were attending physicians. Overall, 37 % had heard of the Triad. Of these respondents, an average of 2.1 ± 1.1 of the three components were properly identified with an overall average score on the Triad awareness test of 71 ± 18 % out of a possible 100 %. Fifty-one percent reported feeling either comfortable treating or referring a patient with the Triad.

When assessing awareness among specialties, the awareness rates were highest among orthopedic surgery (80 %), followed by obstetrics and gynecology (55 %) and physical medicine and rehabilitation/rheumatology (52 %). The three with the lowest awareness were anesthesia (9 %), radiology (10 %), and psychiatry (11 %).


Our findings suggest that approximately one third of the physicians surveyed have heard of the Triad. Approximately one half of physicians were comfortable treating or referring a patient with the Triad. Increased awareness through education to properly identify and manage the Triad is essential for all physicians.

Key Points

  • There is low awareness of the female athlete triad among physicians across specialties.
  • It is likely that many females are not diagnosed and subsequently treated for the Triad given the high number of physician responders who were unable to properly identify the Triad in a clinical setting.
  • Our results suggest that major effort is needed to increase awareness of the Triad across medical and surgical subspecialties.

Autor / Fonte:Emily J Curry, Catherine Logan, Kathryn Ackerman, Kelly C McInnis, Elizabeth G Matzkin Sports Medicine—Open 2015, 1 (1): 38
Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4642583/pdf/40798_2015_Article_37.pdf