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Anorexia and amenorrhea

Anorexia is an eating disorder where girls starve voluntary – it usually starts in puberty when girls have extreme weight loss. Anorexia symptoms start when weight loss is usually 10%-20% below the person’s normal body weight. People suffering from anorexia are very skinny but are convinced that they are overweight.

Youngsters with this disease continue to think they are overweight even after they become extremely thin, are very ill or near death. Often they will develop strange eating habits such as refusing to eat in front of other people. Sometimes the individuals will prepare big meals for others while refusing to eat any of it.

Often anorexia is developed in higher socioeconomic classes where the special thiny type of body is appreciated and in some professions where body weight is very important (such as dancing, especially ballerinas; show models; sportswomen; etc.)

Anorexia and Amenorrhea

Symptoms can be different in different situations (depending on age, cause of anorexia, mentality and personality). Main symptom is inadequate low weight and amenorrhea (absence of periods).

Additional symptoms are the following:

  • Absence of appetite and refusal of food;
  • Anxiety;
  • Stress (on-going);
  • Intense fear of gaining weight;
  • Weakness and tiredness;
  • Luck of life energy;
  • Brittle skin;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Obsessive behavior concerning food calories

AMENORRHEA – MENSTRUAL CYCLE

Menstrual dysfunction (mainly amenorrhea) is common in youth who suffer from this disease and who are limiting their nutritional intake excessively. Women should know about amenorrhea. Amenorrhea during anorexia is associated with hypothalamic dysfunction. The mechanism for hypothalamic amenorrhea in anorexic clients is not yet fully understood.

Anorexia and health

Disturbances in central dopaminergic and opioid activity have been described by scientists in anorexic girls and both these substances are known to modulate gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) which is stimulating production of Luteinizing Hormone (LH). Mentioned disturbances create abnormal hypothalamic activities in anorexia clients and result in functional hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (reduced production of hypothalamic hormones).

As a result in anorexic girls ovaries produce limited sex hormones (estrogens and progesterone). Lack of sex hormones is becoming the cause of amenorrhea in anorexia women.

Anorexia and Amenorrhea


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