Eating Disorders and Menopause

Eating disorders are increasingly common and do not just occur in teenagers. Eating disorders in menopausal women have actually increased in frequency over the past decade or so.

Some women find that having menopausal symptoms leads to an eating disorder that has been successfully managed in the past recurring. Other women suffer with eating disorders for the first time during their menopause.

The effects of eating disorders are often even more severe for middle-aged women than for teenage girls. Weight loss associated with eating disorders can lead to lower levels of oestrogen in the body. In addition, if a woman is starving or purging her food, malnutrition and higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol can result in enormous bone loss, at a higher rate than occurs naturally during the menopause.

This will increase a women’s risk even more of developing osteoporosis. It is really important to know that, with the right help, eating disorders can be effectively managed and women can recover. If you think you are newly suffering from an eating disorder, or recognise the symptoms of it recurring, it is important to see your GP for advice and a referral where appropriate. Left untreated, you risk significant damage to your heart, bones, gut and immune system.


Last updated: February 2018

Eating Disorders and Menopause

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