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Ask the Experts

Question:

I am a runner and was told that my stress fracture may mean I have an eating disorder. Could this be true?

Answered by: Evelyn Attia

Bone loss and actual osteoporosis are associated with anorexia nervosa. Low weight and associated hormone changes affect bone metabolism and lead to interruption in the building of bone in younger patients, and to more rapid bone loss in older patients.

One lesser known fact is that treatments to protect bone such as hormone replacement therapy (such as the oral contraceptive pill) that work in normal weight menopausal women who want to protect their bones may not help patients with anorexia nervosa in the same way.

The treatment for bone loss in anorexia nervosa is nutritional rehabilitation and getting weight to normal range.