What dieting restrictions can cause amenorrhea?

Updated: Jan 08, 2019
  • Author: Kristi A Tough DeSapri, MD; Chief Editor: Richard Scott Lucidi, MD, FACOG  more...
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Answer

Dieting with excessive restriction of energy intake, especially fat restriction, may lead to amenorrhea and associated bone loss. In extreme cases, the process may advance to anorexia nervosa, a potentially fatal condition. Associated symptoms are an intense fear of fatness and a body image that is heavier than observed. Eating disorders can be restrictive in nature or can be of a binge-eating/purging type.

Orthorexia is characterized by obsession with eating healthy or organic foods, often to the detriment of a patient’s health. This is currently classified as an “eating disorder not otherwise specified” in the DSM-IV-TR. Patients with orthorexia may also restrict specific nutrients and calories from their diet and develop amenorrhea and its long-term health consequences, namely, low bone mineral density. [31]


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