HealthDay News — Obstetrician-gynecologists should be aware of the gynecologic concerns and symptoms of eating disorders, according to a committee opinion published in the June issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Nancy Sokkary, MD, from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Adolescent Health, and colleagues address gynecologic care for adolescents and young women with eating disorders. 

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The authors note that eating disorders commonly arise during adolescence. Females with eating disorders may present with gynecologic concerns or symptoms; these include irregular menses or amenorrhea, pelvic pain, atrophic vaginitis, and breast atrophy. Formal diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders in adolescents are outside the scope of gynecologic practice, but health care providers should be comfortable with recognizing and screening at-risk patients. Recognition of risk factors can help identify patients who need further evaluation. Asking questions such as how patients feel about their weight, what and how much they eat, and how much they exercise can help identify patients who are at risk. A multidisciplinary approach is helpful because of the complexity of eating disorders and their impact on psychological and physical health. Obstetrician-gynecologists should be familiar with the criteria that warrant immediate hospitalization for medical stabilization.

“Eating disorders are complicated and difficult diseases to diagnose and treat,” Sokkary said in a statement. “We must proceed cautiously and deliberately with any patient who presents with potential symptoms of an eating disorder.”

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