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Eating disorders afflict women across their lifespan with peak onset during critical and sensitive development periods or reproductive hormone changes, such as puberty. A growing body of research supports the role of reproductive hormones, specifically estrogen, in the risk for eating disorders and related symptomatology in adolescence and young adulthood. Like puberty, perimenopause is characterized by estrogen change and may also present a window of vulnerability to development of eating disorders. In a recent paper by Baker and Runfola, the evidence is discussed that suggests perimenopause may indeed be a vulnerable period for the development or redevelopment of an eating disorder for midlife women [1]. Drawing from what is known about the influence of estrogen on eating disorders at younger ages and from other psychiatric disorders with similar risk trajectories (e.g. perimenopausal depression), a potential mechanism of risk for a perimenopausal eating disorder is described and how this can be explored in future research. Investigating vulnerability to perimenopausal eating disorders will clarify the etiology of eating disorders, identify reproductive stage-specific risk profiles, and guide future treatment directions.

Author(s)

  • Svetlana Vujovic
    Medical Faculty, University of Belgrade, Clinic of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Diseases of Metabolism, Clinical Center of Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia; President of the Serbian Menopause Society

Citations

  1. Baker JH, Runfola CD. Eating disorders in midlife women: A perimenopausal eating disorder? Maturitas 2016;85:112-16
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26857889
  2. Mangweth-Matzek B, Hoek HW, Rupp CI, et al. The menopausal transition – a possible window of vulnerability for eating pathology. Int J Eat Disord 2013;46:609-16
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23847142
  3. Hunter GR, Gower B, Kane B. Age related shift in visceral fat. Int J Body Comp Res 2010;8:103-8
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24834015
  4. Zhang G, Li J, Purkayastha S, et al. Hypothalamus programming of systemic ageing involving IKK-β, NF-κB and GnRH. Nature 2013;497:211-16
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23636330
  5. Lovejoy JC, Champagne CM, de Jonge L, Xie H, Smith SR. Increased visceral fat and decreased energy expenditure during the menopausal transition. Int J Obes 2008;32:949-58
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18332882
  6. Zivkovic TB, Vuksanovic M, Jelic MA, et al. Obesity and metabolic syndrome during the menopausal transition in Serbian women. Climacteric 2011;14:643-8
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21878054
  7. Lambrinoudaki I, Brincat M, Erel CT, et al. EMAS position statement: managing obese postmenopausal women. Maturitas 2010;66:323-6
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20434858
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