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Resumption of menses in anorexia nervosa during a course of family-based treatment

Julianne P Faust12, Andrea B Goldschmidt1, Kristen E Anderson1, Catherine Glunz3, Melanie Brown4, Katharine L Loeb4, Debra K Katzman2 and Daniel Le Grange1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, The University of Chicago, 5841 S. Maryland Ave., MC3077, Chicago, IL, 60637, USA

2 Division of Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, The Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

3 Department of Pediatrics, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA

4 School of Psychology, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, NJ, USA

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Journal of Eating Disorders 2013, 1:12  doi:10.1186/2050-2974-1-12

Published: 8 April 2013



The resumption of menses (ROM) is considered an important clinical marker in weight restoration for patients with anorexia nervosa (AN). The purpose of this study was to examine ROM in relation to expected body weight (EBW) and psychosocial markers in adolescents with AN.


We conducted a retrospective chart review at The University of Chicago Eating Disorders Program from September 2001 to September 2011 (N = 225 females with AN). Eighty-four adolescents (Mean age = 15.1, SD = 2.2) with a DSM-IV diagnosis of AN, presenting with secondary amenorrhea were identified. All participants had received a course of outpatient family-based treatment (FBT), i.e., ~20 sessions over 12 months. Weight and menstrual status were tracked at each therapy session throughout treatment. The primary outcome measures were weight (percent of expected for sex, age and height), and ROM.


Mean percent EBW at baseline was 82.0 (SD = 6.5). ROM was reported by 67.9% of participants (57/84), on average at 94.9 (SD = 9.3) percent EBW, and after having completed an average of 13.5 (SD = 10.7) FBT sessions (~70% of standard FBT). Compared to participants without ROM by treatment completion, those with ROM had significantly higher baseline Eating Disorder Examination Global scores (p = .004) as well as Shape Concern (p < .008) and Restraint (p < .002) subscale scores. No other differences were found.


Results suggest that ROM occur at weights close to the reference norms for percent EBW, and that high pre-treatment eating disorder psychopathology is associated with ROM. Future research will be important to better understand these differences and their implications for the treatment of adolescents with AN.

Return of menses; Adolescent anorexia nervosa; Family-based treatment