Study: Female Triathletes At Risk For Numerous Health Complications

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File photo of a person riding a bicycle. 
(Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

File photo of a person riding a bicycle.
(Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – A new study has found that female triathletes are at risk for numerous health complications.

Researchers found that female triathletes are at risk for pelvic floor disorders like urinary or bowel incontinence. In addition to that, female athletes are at risk for triad syndrome, which symptoms include reduced energy as a result of eating patterns, menstrual problems and abnormal bone density.

Dr. Johhny Yi, a urogynecologist at Loyola University Health System in Chicago IL, conducted the research along with his colleagues. They surveyed 311 women with an average age of 35-44 who were involved with triathlete groups. Researchers found that 1 in 3 women who ran 3.7 days a week, biked 2.9 days a week and swam 2.4 days a week experienced a pelvic floor disorder.

Also, researchers found that urgency urinary incontinence occurred in 16 percent of women, 37.4 percent had stress urinary incontinence, and 28 percent had bowel incontinence.

“While both pelvic floor disorders and the female athlete triad are prevalent in female triathletes, both are often ignored,” Dr. Yi told Medical News Today. “Doctors should be aware of how common these conditions are in this group of athletes and treat patients appropriately to avoid long-term health consequences.”

Eighty-two percent of the women were in the process of training for a triathlon at the time of the survey.

One in 4 women were found to have one symptom of “female athlete triad” syndrome, researchers found.

Researchers noted that not enough information is known surrounding the health problems associated with the training regime for triathlons and the actual races themselves.

The study was presented at the American Urogynecologic Society 2014 Scientific Meeting in Washington, D.C.

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