Hypothalamic amenorrhea and hidden nutritional insults

J Soc Gynecol Investig. 1994 Jan-Mar;1(1):84-8. doi: 10.1177/107155769400100117.


Objective: We examined whether abnormal nutrition is an associated event in idiopathic hypothalamic amenorrhea.

Methods: Eighteen amenorrheic subjects were compared to 36 normal controls using endocrine, nutritional, and psychological evaluations.

Results: Controls were closer to their ideal weight (97.2 versus 89.7%; P < .05) than amenorrheics despite similar ages and heights. Amenorrheics denied eating disorders; however, our evaluation showed more eating disorders (55 versus 26%; P < .05), higher scores on a scale of eating behavior (22.28 versus 10.36; P < .001), twice as much fiber intake (26.14 versus 14.69 g/day) and less fat intake (20.7 versus 27.10 g/day) (P < .001), more aerobic activity (85 versus 58%) despite expending fewer calories per day (2303.7 versus 2576.7 kcal/day; P < .05), and similar caloric intake.

Conclusions: Significant abnormalities suggest that a greater percentage of hypothalamic amenorrhea occurs on a nutritional basis than previously suspected and should be searched for in depth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amenorrhea / etiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamic Diseases / complications*
  • Nutrition Disorders / complications*
  • Reference Values