Specialty Care for Female Athletes
Women athletes and those assigned at birth as female have unique needs when it comes to wellness, training, and recovery from injuries.
For example, they're more prone to concussions and knee injuries like ACL tears.
And they have specific needs when it comes to bone health, nutrition, and menstrual function. All these factors play major roles in athletic performance, risk of injury, and overall health.
University of Iowa Health Care is home to the state's only team of providers offering specialized care for athletes assigned at birth as female. They also serve as team doctors for the Iowa Hawkeyes.
We work with athletes of all ages, abilities, and life stages, including pregnancy and postpartum.
We'll focus on improving your overall wellness and performance, facilitating your recovery from injuries, and minimizing your risk of future injury.
Special expertise in RED-S
UI Health Care sports medicine providers—many of whom are athletes themselves—are experts in treating a condition known as RED-S (relative energy deficiency in sport). This condition is particularly prevalent in female athletes.
What is RED-S?
RED-S is an imbalance between the energy athletes burn and the energy they consume.
This calorie deficit affects many body systems, including hormonal pathways. It can lead to:
- Decreased bone density (osteopenia)
- Interrupted menstrual periods (amenorrhea)
These conditions can impair your athletic performance over the long term. And you can experience serious problems with your hormones, bones, metabolism, heart, digestive system, and more.
A unique treatment plan
Our team works closely with you to address the causes and effects of RED-S. Your treatment plan focuses on both your health and your performance.
Your customized plan might include:
- A nutrition plan that balances your calorie intake and energy output
- A training plan for the right level of activity
- Counseling to help you adjust your approach to eating and exercise
They work together to help you maximize performance and prevent injuries. They can also help you recover from injury or illness to get back to full function.
Your care team focuses not only on your physical health, but on your mental health, as well.
Our sport and performance psychology specialist helps you build emotional well-being, a productive approach to athletic performance, and a positive mindset when recovering from injury.
What to expect
Your visit will include an informed discussion about your health and may include:
Specialty care for female athletes tests and treatments
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction
- Biomechanical analysis
- Bone health analysis
- Breastfeeding education and support
- Compartment pressure testing
- Diagnostic ultrasound and MRI
- Fracture repair
- Mental health counseling