The eating disorders anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa and eating disorders not otherwise specified disproportionately affect women, have profound effects on the overall well-being of women and their children, and can have mortality rates as high as those found with major depression. These disorders may present to obstetrician-gynecologists (ob-gyns) clinically as menstrual dysfunction, low bone density, sexual dysfunction, miscarriage, preterm delivery, or low birth weight in offspring. Ninety percent of eating disorders develop before the age of 25 in otherwise healthy young women, a group that characteristically seeks the majority of their health care from ob-gyns. For all of these reasons, ob-gyns must have a greater awareness of these disorders and a lower index of suspicion for screening their patients than they currently do. Otherwise, they may miss life-threatening illness, treat characteristic amenorrhea inappropriately, or inadvertently intervene to help these women conceive, contributing to maternal and fetal risks. As providers of both primary and specialty care for women, ob-gyns have the opportunity to play a vital role in prevention and diagnosis of eating disorders and in the multidisciplinary management required to effectively manage these disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynecology