Eating Disorders and Women's Health: An Update

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Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and eating disorders not otherwise specified have a significant impact on the health care and childbearing outcomes of the female population. Primary care contact for gynecologic care, childbearing, or infertility can serve as a critical entry point for the initial recognition of potentially devastating disorders that may result in permanent impairment and/or chronic debilitation. This review addresses the nature and prevalence of eating disorders and the management of pregnancy complicated by an active eating disorder or a history of an eating disorder. Genetic influences and intergenerational transmission of eating disorders are discussed. Finally, the increased risk for postpartum depression among women with a current or past eating disorder is examined. Factors critical to improving pregnancy outcome and reducing the risk for exacerbation or relapse in the postpartum period are identified.

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