#280: Kirsty Elliot-Sale, PhD – Energy Availability, Menstrual Disorders & RED-S

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Guest Bio

Kirsty Elliot-Sale, PhD

Dr Elliott-Sale is an associate professor in female physiology at Nottingham Trent University.

There, she is also the Head of the Musculoskeletal Physiology Research Group.

She is also responsible for teaching on the undergraduate and postgraduate Sport Science degree programmes.

Dr Elliott-Sale teaches mainly in the areas of Exercise Physiology and particularly in Female Physiology, Performance, and Health.

In This Episode We Discuss

  • Menstrual disorders: secondary amenorrhea (loss of 3 or more consectively) vs. oligomenorrhea (cycle longer than 45 days), vs.Functional Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (FHA) vs milder symptoms of some dysfunction
  • What is happening on a hormonal level that ties in with menstrual issues?
  • Understanding “energy availability”
  • How do we quantify what is “low” energy availability?
  • 2014 IOC consensus statement - Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport
  • Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport VS. Female Athlete Triad
  • Landmark papers  that really advanced understanding of this concept
  • Triad can lead to decreased estrogen. Implications for contraceptive pill users?
  • Difference in risk between genders? Difference in expression of symptoms among genders?
  • Reduced EA = increased illness/injury and thus more opportunities to train are lost.
  • Recommendations for at risk athletes: where is that sweet spot for avoiding RED-S but achieving the body weight needed for a weigh-in or for them to be competitive (e.g. cyclist or runner)?
  • The screening and diagnosis of RED-S is challenging, as symptomatology can be subtle.
  • Individuality: How great the energy deficiency needs to be for that individual to be symptomatic

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