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Int J Eat Disord. 2011 Dec;44(8):752-5. doi: 10.1002/eat.20861. Epub 2010 Nov 5.

Tampon use in patients with anorexia nervosa can cause persistent vaginal bleeding: a case series.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado, USA.



To describe the phenomenon of persistent vaginal bleeding in two patients with severe anorexia nervosa.


We report two cases of young women with severe anorexia nervosa reporting vaginal bleeding that persisted for months despite trials of topical and systemic conjugated estrogen therapy.


A speculum exam by a gynecologist ultimately revealed the source of the bleeding to be tampon-induced vaginal ulcers. These resolved, along with the vaginal bleeding, with vaginal estrogen cream and cessation of tampon use.


Most patients with anorexia nervosa are amenorrheic due to reversion of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis to a prepubertal state. Vaginal bleeding in patients with anorexia nervosa may trigger needless systemic hormonal treatments, radiographic studies, and multiple physician visits. A careful exam is warranted to evaluate for the presence of tampon-induced vaginal ulcer in patients with anorexia nervosa who have persistent vaginal bleeding.

Copyright © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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