The obsession with perfect bodies has caused many eating disorders to appear in teenagers and young adult women, obsessed with magazine models and desperate to fit in.
However, eating disorders are a much more complex problem and affect women (and men) throughout life, regardless of age.
A significant number of middle-aged women are affected by dysfunctional eating behavior.
The anorexia nervosa and the bulimia nervosa, disorders that were thought to be present mostly in adolescence, appear to be present in about the 4% of middle-aged women.
Some women have suffered from eating disorders throughout their lives, or have had it in their teens and it has come back at menopause. However, in many cases, the eating disorder first develops during perimenopause.
While young women are more likely to fall into severely restrictive eating habits (anorexia), young women middle-aged women tend to have more than one problem with Binge.
Many times, these eating disorders do not occur in isolation. In almost half of the cases, women with Eating Disorders they also have symptoms of anxiety or depression at some point in your life.
Those with greater stress or whose mental or physical health is worse, or have less support are more likely to have problems with eating and depression or anxiety.
In addition to psychological and social repercussions, perimenopausal eating disorders are associated with increased number of health problems than when they occur in younger women.
Some symptoms can be relatively benign, such as Headaches and weakness, but others can be much more serious like anorexia nervosa or bulimia, or medical problems such as tooth damage, osteoporosis, arrhythmias, or esophageal damage.
Compulsive eating (binge eating), in addition to causing overweight, can also increase the risk of developing diabetes, joint damage, cardiovascular disease, stroke or dementia.
Perimenopause, like adolescence, is a period associated with significant hormonal change.
Previously, it was thought that during perimenopathy there was only a decrease in estrogen levels. But it is now known that estrogen, and other ovarian hormones, fluctuate significantly during perimenopause, and that the estrogen can reach levels higher than those seen in adolescence.
These are probably hormonal fluctuations which predispose some women develop a eating disorder.