- April 8, 2016
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Eating disorders are traditionally more common in young adults and adolescents. Contrary to popular belief, midlife does not render women immune to eating disorders. In fact, perimenopause may be a critical risk period for the development or redevelopment of binge eating.
Middle-aged women may be at risk of developing eating disorders around the time of menopause. Research show that these eating disorders may be triggered by increased sensitivity of the body to the fluctuations in the hormone estrogen during menopause. Genetic background may drive hypersensitivity to estrogen.
Research show that the prevalence of eating disorders, such as bulimia nervosa (over eating), in midlife women is approximately 4%.This increases to 10% in perimenopausal age.This suggests that fluctuations in estrogen levels may be an important factor.
Although majority of women experience estrogen fluctuations,only a small number develop eating disorders. It is proposed that perimenopausal eating disorder is primarily characterized by binge eating.In this disorder women who are hypersensitive to estrogen fluctuations react strongly to changes in estrogen levels around the time of menopause.