Listed among the vast number of health problems caused by eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder is infertility.
It’s no wonder one out of every five fertility clinic patients is reported to have or have had some form of eating disorder, with 11 million Americans suffering from these maladies.
According to Reuters, 1,705 women, each with some type of eating disorder, participated in a genetic study exhibited menstrual abnormalities such as skipping periods, light periods or the absence of periods all together.
Approximately 80 percent of the women with Anorexia Nervosa reported an unusual absence of menstruation for at least three consecutive months, also known as amenorrhea, on at least one occasion.
Roughly 30 percent to 36 percent of women suffering from Bulimia Nervosa or EDONS (eating disorders not otherwise specified) reported secondary amenorrhea.
Ideally carrying a baby in a healthy body is the best option since eating disorders cause so many health problems. Even if pregnancy does occur while the mother is struggling with an eating disorder, the baby can be negatively affected with health problems of its own; the pregnancy can also result in miscarriage.
Although eating disorders cause a barrage of serious health problems as it is; the correlation between eating disorders and how they affect a woman’s endocrine system, which controls the production of reproductive and growth hormones, is clear cut.
The following are all symptoms of infertility that can be caused by eating disorders:
- Harmful levels of weight gain and loss
- Insignificant nourishment
- Low levels of body fat
- Reduced egg quality
- Ovarian failure
- Menstrual cycles either become random or stop entirely
- Hormonal imbalances
It is not impossible to conceive while suffering from an eating disorder. However, the time it takes to get pregnant will be hindered and the risks of health issues to the mother and baby are much higher. Seeking help for an eating disorder before attempting to conceive is highly recommended for the health and welfare of the mother and the child.