Eating disorders and menstrual dysfunction: literature review

Rugilė Kančaitė1

1Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Academy of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania


There are three main eating disorders – anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. These behavioural syndromes affect not only the affected person’s psychosocial wellbeing, but also have a significant impact on one‘s overall physical health. Eating disorders are mostly reported by young women of childbearing age who tend to express complaints of reproductive system problems firsthand. Amenhorrea and oligomenhorrea are the most frequent gynecological symptoms associated with eating disorders determined by various behaviours like excessive physical activity, insufficient food intake or binging, self-inducted vomiting or diarrhea and emotional stress caused by the desire to stay underweight and the fear of gaining body mass. Eating disorder-linked menstrual dysfunction and its pathophysiological mechanisms are distinct regarding to the type of the eating disorder.

Aim of the study: to evaluate the connection between eating disorders and menstrual dysfunction. Databases such as Pubmed, UpToDate and ScienceDirect were searched using the keywords „eating disorders“, „menstrual dysfunction“, „oligomenhorrea”, “amenhorrea”, „binge eating disorder“, „anorexia nervosa“, „bulimia nervosa“ and the publications were analysed. This article reviews analysed literature on anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and resulting mechanisms of menstrual dysfunction in adult women.

Keywords: eating disorders, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, amenhorrea, oligomenhorrea.