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Horm Mol Biol Clin Investig. 2016 Feb;25(2):91-119. doi: 10.1515/hmbci-2015-0053.

The physiology of functional hypothalamic amenorrhea associated with energy deficiency in exercising women and in women with anorexia nervosa.


An energy deficiency is the result of inadequate energy intake relative to high energy expenditure. Often observed with the development of an energy deficiency is a high drive for thinness, dietary restraint, and weight and shape concerns in association with eating behaviors. At a basic physiologic level, a chronic energy deficiency promotes compensatory mechanisms to conserve fuel for vital physiologic function. Alterations have been documented in resting energy expenditure (REE) and metabolic hormones. Observed metabolic alterations include nutritionally acquired growth hormone resistance and reduced insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) concentrations; hypercortisolemia; increased ghrelin, peptide YY, and adiponectin; and decreased leptin, triiodothyronine, and kisspeptin. The cumulative effect of the energetic and metabolic alterations is a suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. Gonadotropin releasing hormone secretion is decreased with consequent suppression of luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone release. Alterations in hypothalamic-pituitary secretion alters the production of estrogen and progesterone resulting in subclinical or clinical menstrual dysfunction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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