1. Is a healthy diet important?
  2. What can changes to the menstrual cycle cause?
  3. What are the consequences of weight loss?
  4. Which is the right therapy?

Is a healthy diet important?

Macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and lipids and micronutrients such as vitamins make up our diet. Our daily diet should be balanced and include the intake of about 50% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 20% lipids. Every type of diet influences our state of health and our hormonal balance, in fact, the loss of 10-15% of our body weight can lead to alterations of the menstrual cycle.

What can changes to the menstrual cycle cause?

Weight loss causes an overall reduction of the levels of insulin and a reduction of adipose tissue, body fat, which also causes a reduction in the levels of leptin, hormone produced by adipose tissue. Nutritional deficiency, together with the reduction of leptin, brings to the suppression of the hypothalamus-hypophysis-ovary axis. This causes an absence of menstruation, better known as hypothalamic amenorrhea, with low levels of gonadotropins, FSH and LSH, and of oestrogens. In addition, the variation in body weight not only influences the production of sexual hormones but also their release cyclicity. 

What are the consequences of weight loss?

Malnutrition leads to a slow down of basal metabolism and to a reduction of the free T3 hormone. In fact, the exams to be carried out include those on thyroid function and prolactin, which is another stress hormone. Regaining the ideal weight with a balanced diet, the menstrual cycle will progressively start again. The oestrogen deficiency correlated to an excessive and prolonged weight loss can cause serious damage to fertility, to the nervous system and to the brain, which can also be irreversible once back to normal weight. Long-term consequences mainly refer to the loss of bone mass because there is an impoverishment of the trabecular section of the bone, which in time can lead to osteoporosis.

Which is the right therapy?

The right therapy in these situations consists in nutritional rehabilitation together with psychological rehabilitation to tackle and eradicate the causes of stress that have determined the sudden weight loss and its consequences.