Male Anorexia and Infertility

When the subject of eating disorders comes up, it seems most natural to connect it to women. However, of the approximately eight million people in the US with eating disorders, nearly one million of them are men.

Anorexia Nervosa and Men

Anorexia nervosa, one of three major eating disorders, is a serious illness with a wide range of damaging effects upon the body and the mind. Its root causes are very similar in both men and women with body image being the primary focus for both sexes. With the cultural pressure upon men for the ideal body, the incidences of male anorexia are on the rise. Body shape and size as well as physical appearance are strong contributors to eating disorders in males. Certain sports increase the risk for men to engage in disordered eating. Body builders, wrestlers, dancers, swimmers, runners, rowers, gymnasts and jockeys are all at risk because of the weight restrictions associated with their specific sport.

Personalities and Problems

More studies are being done to investigate eating disorders in men. From research that has already been completed, it was found that men with eating disorders tend to have more passive-aggressive personality styles and have also been the brunt of peer negativity in their growing-up years. Research also indicates that anorexic males tend to have personalities that are more avoidant and dependent. They tend not to conform to the cultural expectations for masculinity in terms of being competitive, muscular or strong, physically aggressive, independent or athletically competitive (Kearney-Cooke & Steichen-Asch, 1990).

Top Symptoms of Anorexia in Men

Characterized by excessive weight loss and self-starvation, anorexia is a devastating problem that can result in death. Some of the symptoms of anorexia in males include:

· Compulsive exercise

· Preoccupation with body shape, size, muscle mass

· Food rituals

· Refusal to maintain body weight either at or above normal weight

· Denial of being underweight

· Denial of seriousness of low body weight

· Fear of being fat

· Lying about eating

· Difficulty eating around people

· Depression, isolation, loneliness

· Unrealistic standards - being a perfectionist

· Low self-esteem

· Need for control

· Fatigue and muscle weakness

· Low blood pressure and body temperature

· Difficulty expressing feelings

· Thinning hair

Table of Contents
1. Male Anorexia
2. Is he underweight?
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