Menstrual cycle dysfunction and weight loss practices among college-age women
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Secondary amenorrhea, ovulatory disturbances, and luteal phase deficiency occur in normal-weight women with sub-clinical eating disorders. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the influence of Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) scores, energy intake, and frequency of activity on ovarian hormone status in normal-weight, college-age women. Fourteen normal-weight female students, ages 19 - 24, who were attempting weight loss and did not currently meet diagnostic criteria for an eating disorder, served as subjects. Food-intake, dieting behavior, and menstrual cycle function were recorded by subjects during a three month period. Biweekly blood samples were assayed for estradiol and progesterone for one menstrual cycle. Mean age, number of years dieting, and BMI were similar between subjects. Five subjects (36%) had progesterone levels indicative of luteal phase deficiency or anovulation. The EAT-26 score was not associated with menstrual cycle dysfunction. Frequency of exercise and serum progesterone concentration were significantly correlated. Subjects who exercised 7+ hours per week had significantly lower peak progesterone values (p<0.03) than subjects who exercised 1 -3 hours per week. Within the group of subjects scoring above 20 on the EAT-26, those who exercised 7+ hours per week had significantly lower peak progesterone values than subjects exercising 1 - 6 hours (p < 0.03). There was a positive correlation (r = 0.384, P = 0.21) between length of luteal phase and daily energy intake, however the relationship was non-significant. Normal-weight, premenopausal women dieting to lose weight experienced menstrual cycle dysfunction in the absence of significant weight loss or diagnosable eating disorder.
- Masters Theses