Differential associations between ovarian hormones and disordered eating symptoms across the menstrual cycle in women


  • Parts of this manuscript were presented at the Organization for the Study of Sex Differences meeting, Ann Arbor, Michigan, June 3-5, 2010 and the Eating Disorder Research Society meeting, Boston, Massachusetts, October 7-9, 2010.

  • Supported by MDR-96630 from Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Supported by 1F31-MH084470 from National Institute of Mental Health, Supported by 1 R01 MH 0820-54 from the National Institute of Mental Health.



We examined changes in drive for thinness, body dissatisfaction, and dietary restraint across the menstrual cycle and associations between these symptoms and ovarian hormones in two independent samples of women (N = 10 and 8 women, respectively) drawn from the community.


Daily self-report measures of disordered eating and negative affect were completed for 35-65 days. Daily saliva samples were assayed for estradiol and progesterone in Study 2 only.


Levels of body dissatisfaction and drive for thinness were highest during the mid-luteal/pre-menstrual phases in both studies and were negatively associated with estradiol, and positively associated with progesterone. By contrast, dietary restraint showed less variation across the menstrual cycle and weaker associations with ovarian hormones.


Differential associations between ovarian hormones and specific disordered eating symptoms point to distinct etiological processes within the broader construct of disordered eating. © 2011 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2012)