Eating disorders in adolescence: what is the role of hormone replacement therapy?Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol 2007; 19(5):434-9CO
PURPOSE OF REVIEW
To review the diagnostic criteria and clinical presentation of eating disorders in adolescence, to outline an approach to treatment, and examine evidence for prescribing hormone replacement therapy to increase bone mineral density in anorexia nervosa.
Eating disorders are prevalent in adolescents and can present with amenorrhea and menstrual disturbances. Reduced bone mineral density leading to osteoporosis and increased fracture risk is a frequent, severe, and potentially irreversible complication of anorexia nervosa. The degree of bone mineral density reduction depends on the duration of amenorrhea and degree of malnutrition. Limited evidence supports the use of hormone replacement therapy to increase bone mineral density in adolescents with anorexia nervosa.
In adolescents with amenorrhea or menstrual disturbances, the gynecologist should consider the possibility of an eating disorder. The diagnosis can be made on history and physical examination. If an eating disorder is suspected, the patient should be referred for evaluation and treatment. Support for the use of hormone replacement therapy to increase bone mineral density in adolescents with anorexia nervosa is limited, and its routine use should be discouraged. Weight restoration, calcium and vitamin D supplementation and the resumption of spontaneous menses is the mainstay of treatment.