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Am J Psychiatry. 2002 Jun;159(6):1048-50.

Long-term menstrual and reproductive function in patients with bulimia nervosa.

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  • 1Department ofPsychiatry, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, 55454-1495, USA. crowx002@tc.umn.edu



Menstrual dysfunction occurs frequently in patients with bulimia nervosa. Whether this is associated with diminished fertility is unknown. This study examined menstrual and reproductive function in bulimia nervosa patients retrospectively, with 10-15-year follow-ups.


A total of 173 women with bulimia nervosa were interviewed an average of 11.5 years (SD=1.9) after initial assessment with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV and a questionnaire about menstruation, pregnancy, and eating disorder symptoms.


At baseline assessment, 38.2% of the subjects reported regular menses, and 4.6% reported amenorrhea. At follow-up, the rate of amenorrhea was 16.8% (2.9% because of pregnancy). At baseline, 34.7% of the subjects had experienced at least one pregnancy. At follow-up, 74.6% had been pregnant at least once, and 1.7% reported an inability to conceive.


These results suggest that while menstrual irregularities are common, bulimia nervosa appears to have little impact on later ability to achieve pregnancy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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