Treatments to prevent bone loss in functional hypothalamic amenorrhea: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Osama Altayar, Alaa Al Nofal, B. Gisella Carranza Leon, Larry J. Prokop, Zhen Wang, Mohammad Hassan Murad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that evaluated the effect of hormonal therapy [estrogen therapy including oral contraceptive pills (OCP)] and bisphosphonates in preventing bone loss in patients with functional hypothalamic amenorrhea (FHA). Methods: We searched several electronic databases for controlled and noncontrolled studies that enrolled females of any age presenting with FHA (including athletic, weight loss, and stress-associated amenorrhea/oligomenorrhea) through 9 January 2017. The outcomes of interest were fractures and bone mineral density (BMD). Random effects meta-analysis was used to pool outcomes across studies expressed as weighted mean difference and 95% confidence interval (CI). Results: Nine studies reporting on 280 patients that received different hormonal therapies were included. We did not identify studies that evaluated bisphosphonates. Meta-analysis demonstrated a statistically significant increase in BMD of the lumbar spine in patients receiving hormonal therapy after a median follow-up of 12 months (weighted mean difference, 0.032 g/cm2; 95% CI, 0.017 to 0.047; percentage change in BMD, 3.30%; 95% CI, 1.74 to 4.86). There was no substantial effect of receiving hormonal therapy on BMD of the femoral neck, trochanteric region, Ward triangle, or total body BMD. The quality of evidence was low because of the high risk of bias, imprecision (small sample size), and indirectness (as BMD is a surrogate outcome). None of the studies reported the incidence of fractures. Conclusion: The current evidence does not support using hormonal therapy for the sole purpose of improving bone health in patients with FHA. There are no data about bisphosphonates in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)500-511
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Endocrine Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Amenorrhea
  • Bisphosphonates
  • Bone density
  • Female athletes
  • Functional hypothalamic amenorrhea
  • Oral contraceptives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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