Patterns of menstrual disturbance in eating disorders


  • Presented in part at the 2006 International Conference on Eating Disorders, Barcelona, Spain, June 7th–10th, 2006.



To describe menstrual disturbance in eating disorders (ED).


We describe menstrual history in 1,705 women and compare eating, weight, and psychopathological traits across menstrual groups.


Menstrual dysfunction occurred across all eating disorder subtypes. Individuals with normal menstrual history and primary amenorrhea reported the highest and lowest lifetime body mass index (BMI), respectively. Normal menstruation and oligomenorrhea groups reported greater binge eating, vomiting, and appetite suppressant use. Amenorrhea was associated with lower caloric intake and higher exercise. Harm avoidance, novelty seeking, perfectionism, and obsessionality discriminated among menstrual status groups. No differences in comorbid Axis I and II disorders were observed.


Menstrual dysfunction is not limited to any eating disorder subtype. BMI, caloric intake, and exercise were strongly associated with menstrual function. Menstrual status is not associated with comorbidity. Menstrual irregularity is an associated feature of all ED rather than being restricted to AN only. © 2007 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2007