Case of a Girl with Secondary Amenorrhea and an Eating Disorder

  • Nancy A. Dodson


This clinical case describes a 13-year-old female who presents with secondary amenorrhea. She has lost 3 kg since age 12, but on close examination of her growth charts, this seemingly small amount of weight loss at a time of expected rapid growth translates into a significant decrease in BMI percentile. Her history, vital signs, physical exam, and laboratory work are consistent with a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa. Untreated anorexia can lead to grave outcomes such as osteopenia, cardiac arrest, suicide, infertility, and the development of chronic anorexia nervosa that becomes refractory to treatment. The most effective treatment is aggressive nutritional rehabilitation through the administration of nutrient-dense meals. Family-based treatment is the most evidence-based modality for refeeding anorexic adolescents, especially those who are young with a short duration of illness. It is imperative that parents understand the gravity of this diagnosis and the need for timely and aggressive treatment.


Amenorrhea Anorexia nervosa Bone health Family-based treatment Maudsley method 


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Suggested Educational Reading and References

  1. Campbell KA, Peebles R. Eating disorders in children and adolescents: state of the art review. Pediatrics. 2014;134(3):582–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Katzman DK, Peebles R, Sawyer SM, Lock J, Le Grange D. The role of the pediatrician in family-based treatment for adolescent eating disorders: opportunities and challenges. J Adolesc Health. 2013;53:433–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Maudsley Parents website:

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Adolescent Medicine, Department of PediatricsChildren’s Hospital at MontefioreBronxUSA

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