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Andrologia. 1999 May;31(3):143-7.

Sex differences and similarities of hormonal alterations in patients with anorexia nervosa.

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  • 1Clinical Centre of Endocrinology and Gerontology, Medical University, Sofia, Bulgaria.


The aim of the present study was to gain better insight into hormonal disturbances in male patients with anorexia nervosa. It included six men with anorexia nervosa aged 13-26 years, with a mean body weight of 42.83 +/- 8.03 kg, a body mass index of 15.08 +/- 1.26 and an average degree of weight loss 29.98 +/- 4.73%. The results were compared with those of 15 healthy age-matched males and 40 women with anorexia nervosa. Prolactin, growth hormone and the gonadal and thyroid axis were studied in detail. The gonadotropin basal levels and their responses to gonadotropin-releasing hormone in male patients were lower, but not significantly, in comparison with healthy men. The basal levels and the responses of luteinizing hormone in anorexic women were significantly lower in comparison with female controls, but the decreased basal level of follicle-stimulating hormone showed an exaggerated response to gonadotropin-releasing hormone. In male anorexics the testosterone levels (7.1 +/- 10.9 nmol l-1) were significantly lower. The changes in the thyroid axis and in prolactin secretion were almost the same in male and female patients. The data of this study suggest that endocrine disturbances in males are similar to those in females with anorexia nervosa, but differences exist mainly in relation to the gonadal axis.

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