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Pituitary Gland Problems

Eating disorders can negatively impact all systems of the body. Pituitary Gland problems are frequently associated with eating disorders. The pituitary gland is located at the base of the brain that releases special hormones that regulate the activity of other glands. It is involved in controlling thyroid functions, the adrenal glands, growth, and sexual maturation. In some people with eating disorders, the pituitary gland problems stop directing target organs to produce normal levels of hormones.

Excess exercise, low body weight, and eating disorders can all cause pituitary gland problems, so that it doesn't send proper signals to the ovary. Girls with these conditions are found to have very low levels of estrogen; they do not bleed in response to the progestin challenge and do not release eggs. This physiological response more than likely evolved in times of great stress or starvation, when it was better not to get pregnant, explains Dr. Marjorie Greenfield.