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09 January 2007

Bulimia tied to sex hormone

Some women with the binge eating disorder bulimia may have a sex hormone imbalance, says a study by researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, BBC News reported.

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Some women with the binge eating disorder bulimia may have a sex hormone imbalance, says a study by researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, BBC News reported.

Bulimia is normally regarded as a mental condition that's treated with psychological therapies such as counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy. The findings of this study suggest that some women with bulimia may have too much of the male hormone testosterone.

In this study, half of the 21 bulimia patients treated for testosterone imbalance reported less hunger and reduced cravings for fatty, sugary foods, BBC News reported. Three of the patients no longer suffered from bulimia, which is characterized by compulsive overeating.

The women in the study were treated with a contraceptive pill containing the female sex hormone oestrogen. This treatment reduced testosterone levels in the women's bodies.

Bulimia is about 10 times more common in women than in men.

"Hormone treatment may very well be an alternative to cognitive behavioural treatment," Steve Bloomfield of the Eating Disorders Association told BBC News. However, it's likely that only a few women with bulimia would benefit from hormone treatment, Bloomfield added. – (HealthDayNews)

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