Delayed Menarche and Amenorrhea in Ballet Dancers
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CitationFrisch, Rose E., Grace Wyshak, and Larry Vincent. 1980. “Delayed Menarche and Amenorrhea in Ballet Dancers.” N Engl J Med 303 (1) (July 3): 17–19. doi:10.1056/nejm198007033030105.
AbstractYOUNG female ballet dancers attending professional schools or dancing in companies in which thinness is much admired restrict their food intake and are highly active. The unusual eating habits and levels of activity of some of these dancers have been related to lack of menstrual cycles.1 Amenorrhea and late menarche among girls and women with average activity levels are associated with undernutrition and weight loss in the range of 10 to 15 per cent of the normal weight for height; such weight loss apparently reduces the fat/lean ratio to less than a critical level. We report here on 89 young ballet dancers among whom there was a high incidence of primary amenorrhea, secondary amenorrhea, irregular cycles, and delayed menarche — an incidence correlated with excessive thinness.
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