“She first came to me for the amenorrhea – she was sent to me by a gynecologist colleague. The menstrual problem was solved in the first five months and then everything was fine from that point of view. But from the eating disorder, stress, situational anxiety, and sexual difficulties in accepting herself as a young attractive woman, this was a long work which went on for several years”

Episode Description: We begin by describing the syndrome of secondary amenorrhea, also known as hypothalamic amenorrhea, and discuss the associated observable symptoms which include intensive exercise and caloric restriction. Dr. Spadazzi is quick to emphasize that while these symptoms are an important aspect of the biology of this condition, they can easily distract one from recognizing the underlying psychological difficulties that commonly coexist. These include a distorted body image, a relentless perfectionism, and sexual difficulties. She also has observed that these patients often have an over-enmeshed relationship with their mothers which interferes with their establishment of an age-appropriate sense of autonomy and recognition of internal desire. We conclude by discussing Dr. Spadazzi’s unusual career path and the unique skills she is able to bring to healing her patients.

Our Guest: Claudia Spadazzi, MD, is a clinical psychologist, gynecologist, and sexual therapist with an interest in neurosciences, psychosomatics, and female psychosexuality. Dr. Spadazzi is a Full Member Italian Psychoanalytic Society (SPI) and International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) and a Visiting Professor in Psychosomatic Gynecology at Universit√† Politecnica Delle Marche. She is co-founder of Italian Psychoanalytic Dialogues, and founder of the Freud’s bar, an outreach initiative. She is also a founder of the Section of Cinema and Psychoanalysis, Festival of the Two Worlds, Spoleto.