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Amenorrhea Linked with Abnormal Eating Behavior

Amenorrhea also associated with high levels of hormone linked to feeding behavior

TUESDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Women with functional hypothalamic amenorrhea have higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone linked to feeding behavior, as well as abnormal eating behaviors, but a normal caloric intake, researchers report in the December issue of Fertility and Sterility.

Lisa F. Schneider, B.A., and Michelle P. Warren, M.D., from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, measured the levels of ghrelin and its association with abnormal eating behaviors in 27 women with functional hypothalamic amenorrhea and 42 normally menstruating women.

The researchers found significantly higher levels of ghrelin and slightly lower levels of leptin in women with amenorrhea. These women also had significantly higher scores on the Eating Attitudes Test, particularly for bulimic behavior, even though they had a significantly higher caloric intake.

"High ghrelin in women with functional hypothalamic amenorrhea may be linked to abnormal dietary behaviors, as reflected in high Eating Attitudes Test scores yet characterized by normal caloric intake," Schneider and Warren conclude. "Ghrelin may act as a restraining metabolic signal preventing a return to cyclicity in women with both disordered eating and functional hypothalamic amenorrhea, prolonging amenorrhea when leptin has returned to normal."

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