Eating Disorders throughout Female AdolescenceDominé F. · Dadoumont C. · Bourguignon J.-P.
Service de Pédiatrie, CHU de Liège, Chênée, Belgium
Eating disorders (EDs) are conditions which are becoming more and more widespread among adolescents and they often lead them to seek the opinion of a professional health caregiver, including gynecologists and pediatricians. EDs, and particularly anorexia nervosa (AN), are usually classified as psychological or psychiatric disorders, but they may have major somatic implications and complications as osteoporosis, nutritional deficiencies, cerebral atrophy, cardiac and metabolic disorders. A key issue in the management is prevention or reduction of both the serious somatic consequences and the important mental health consequences (e.g. depression, psychosocial withdrawal, phobia and suicide), integrating different perspectives (psychological or psychiatric – individual and familial –, genetic, nutritional, pediatric, gynecological). Adolescence is a critical period for the onset of EDs though they may also involve younger children. In this case, the consequences on the development (height, weight, puberty) can also be significant. In this review, we will focus on eating disorders in adolescent girls with an emphasis on AN. We describe variations in ED characteristics and their management depending on age at occurrence. A possible ED should be considered by pediatricians consulted about delayed female growth and puberty as well as gynecologists in patients with primary or secondary amenorrhea or infertility.
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