Reading Passage: Symptoms of RED-S

Module 4: Symptoms of RED-S

The symptoms of Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) can vary depending on the severity and duration of the energy deficiency and can also vary between individuals.

Some common signs and symptoms to look out for in your athletes include:

  • Decreased Performance
  • Decrease in muscle strength, endurance, risk of injury, training response
  • May see short-term performance improvements before decline
  • Some athletes may increase their training intensity to compensate for performance declines caused by RED-S, which can exacerbate the energy deficiency
    and worsen symptoms
  • Low BMI
  • Orthostatic hypotension
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Decreased muscle mass/strength, fat
  • Increased susceptibility for injury
  • Decreased ability to recover from training and competition
  • Frequent illness
  • Disordered eating patterns or eating disorders
  • Amenorrhea (no periods) or oligomenorrhea (infrequent periods)
  • Osteoporosis (decreased bone density)
  • Decreased cognitive function
  • Mood changes (such as depression, anxiety, irritability)
  • Trouble staying warm
  • Hair loss
  • Low libido

Symptoms of RED-S often overlap with those of other conditions, such as disordered eating, chronic fatigue, and overtraining.
If you suspect RED-S, it is crucial to refer your athlete to a trained professional such as a sports physician, mental health counselor, and registered dietitian.

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