How MyForm® Helped Female Athlete Recover From Red-S
Issy Morris has always had a passion for sport, right from a young age playing pretty much any sport she could. At just 13 years old Issy started triathlon and now she’s an elite triathlete.
3 mins read
June 12, 2023
Dr Thom Phillips
12 June 2023
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Being so young, fit and healthy Issy was surprised when her periods didn’t return after coming off hormonal contraception. In August 2020 she was diagnosed with RED-S – Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport – which had a big impact not only on her sport but her hormone health too.
Issy tells us her story and how our innovative MyFORM® female hormone mapping test is helping with her recovery.
BEING DIAGNOSED WITH RED-S
It was Issy’s hormonal contraception that was masking her underlining health condition of RED-S, and it wasn’t until she decided to stop, that the issue became apparent.
Issy’s periods not returning was due to RED-S which is a result of chronic under-fuelling.
Essentially, low energy availability is caused by not enough food being consumed – or the wrong types of foods – to fuel the body for the level of exercise being taken. This causes the body to adapt resulting in physiological changes to maintain life. The body downregulates menstrual function in women and other hormone networks resulting in low bone mineral density.
Issy’s diagnosis of RED-S in August 2020 has had a big impact on her sporting life, ‘little did I know, almost a year later I would still be awaiting the green light allowing me to return to training. Although my periods have now returned, I am now in an ‘in between phase’, while my body adjusts to a more rhythmic circulation of hormones.’
HOW MYFORM® HAS HELPED ISSY’S RECOVERY
Now Issy’s periods have returned, she is able to use our ground-breaking MyFORM® female hormone mapping test which uses artificial intelligence, combined with blood analysis and clinical expertise to map all 4 female hormones across an entire menstrual cycle – FSH, LH, Oestrogen and Progesterone.
As Issy explains, ‘…MyFORM® allows me to track the fluctuations of my hormones and provides explanations for why my periods haven’t become regular straight away.’
Unlike other female hormone tests, MyFORM® provides much greater in-depth analysis of hormone health across the whole menstrual cycle. It allows women to see the complex interplay between these 4 hormones and how they are affecting her health and wellbeing.
‘It is evidence like this that makes the time off training so much easier.’ Issy explains, ‘the most frustrating part of this whole process of RED-S has been that I feel physically fine, I don’t have an injury or an illness to show for my near 12 months off training, yet [the results from MyFORM®] confirm why I still need to continue resting for now.’
And that’s an important point, women don’t always have any physical symptoms of a hormone imbalance straight away, so regular checking of your hormone health can help identify potential issues early on.
Having this insight means Issy is able to adopt the right strategies for her in order to improve her hormone health which in turn will have a big impact on her overall health.
‘Without MyFORM®, I know I would have ramped up the training far sooner and potentially undone what has been one very long year!’, says Issy.
MyFORM® not only shows women their individual levels of FSH, LH, Oestrogen and Progesterone, but whether they are high or low. It also provides an ovarian responsiveness score so women can see how well their ovaries are responding to the two control hormones FSH and LH.
As Issy explains, ‘the personalised report showed that my oestrogen and progesterone were a little low in comparison to the month prior. This has helped me understand why I need to continue resting for now, with the hope of returning to training sooner in the long run.’
She adds, ‘the report also compared my subjective metrics from the follicular phase to the luteal phase, including things such as sleep, hunger and fatigue. This really helped me to understand the changes I noticed throughout my cycle and will allow me to listen to my body more throughout my next cycle.’
‘MyFORM® has been vital in helping me recover from RED-S, giving me insight, I wouldn’t have otherwise gained. This has enabled me to put the right strategies in place to allow my body to recover and get back to sport quicker.’
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This article has been reviewed by our medical expert
Our expert Dr Thom Phillips works in NHS general practice and has a decade of experience working in both male and female elite sport. He has a background in exercise physiology and has published research into fatigue biomarkers.