Eating disorder pathology and menstrual cycle fluctuations in eating variables in oral contraceptive users and non-users.
Food intake and food cravings fluctuate across the menstrual cycle in women who are not using oral contraceptives (OCs), however less is known about cyclical variations in eating variables in women using OCs. Furthermore, few studies have examined the relationship between eating disorder pathology and menstrual cycle fluctuations in eating behaviors. In the present study, we examined self-report, retrospective ratings of food cravings intensity, hunger level, and amount eaten across the menstrual cycle in 67 non-OC users and across exogenous hormone regimens in 81 OC users. We also investigated the relationship between eating disorder pathology and cyclical fluctuations in eating variables. The results indicated that OC users and non-OC users report similar levels of food cravings and amount eaten across cycle phases, with food cravings and reported amount eaten elevated during the week prior to menses/hormone withdrawal bleeding and during the week of menses/hormone withdrawal bleeding. However, OC users reported elevated hunger during both the week prior to hormone withdrawal bleeding and during hormone withdrawal bleeding, whereas non-OC users reported an elevation in hunger level only during the week prior to menses. Fear of fatness and other eating disorder pathology variables were significantly associated with increases in food cravings, hunger level and reported amount eaten the week prior to menses in non-OC users, but not in OC users. These findings suggest that future studies should examine the potential role of menstrual cycle-related fluctuations in eating variables on the development of eating disorders.
McVay, MA; Copeland, AL; Geiselman, PJ
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