(BOSTON) -- The hormone leptin may be effective in treating women who have stopped menstruating due to a lack of fat, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Amenorrhea can affect pre-menopausal women who don't have enough fat, such as long-distance runners, gymnasts and those with eating disorders. As a result, these women can experience infertility and bone loss due to abnormal hormone levels.
But researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston found that replacing leptin, a hormone usually made by cells that store fat, could revert the loss of periods.
In the study, 20 amenorrheic women between the ages of 18 and 35 were either given a synthetic form of leptin or a placebo for 36 weeks. Out of 10 women who received the hormone, seven of them began menstruating and four of the seven were found to be ovulating.
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