Menstrual Cycles: Fatness as a Determinant of Minimum Weight for Height Necessary for Their Maintenance or Onset

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Science  13 Sep 1974:
Vol. 185, Issue 4155, pp. 949-951
DOI: 10.1126/science.185.4155.949


Weight loss causes loss of menstrual function (amenorrhea) and weight gain restores menstrual cycles. A minimal weight for height necessary for the onset of or the restoration of menstrual cycles in cases of primary or secondary amenorrhea due to undernutrition is indicated by an index of fatness of normal girls at menarche and at age 18 years, respectively. Amenorrheic patients of ages 16 years and over resume menstrual cycles after weight gain at a heavier weight for a particular height than is found at menarche. Girls become relatively and absolutely fatter from menarche to age 18 years. The data suggest that a minimum level of stored, easily mobilized energy is necessary for ovulation and menstrual cycles in the human female.

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