Does Having An Eating Disorder Mean You Cant Conceive
While I don’t intend on having children immediately, it’s something I firmly saw in my future. But speaking to women who have lived with their eating disorder for many years, the picture looks bleak. Some have lost any hope of seeing their periods return, while others find that, even once their menstrual cycle restarts, their bodies are not able to cope with pregnancy.
What Is The Role Of Diet For Fertility
This occurs because of restriction of caloric intake, limitation of the major macronutrients , over-exercising, and binging/purging. This is the reason why a womans diet must include a variety of foods that gives sufficient calories and includes a balance of essential nutrients, including proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Fats, in particular, are a crucial part of the diet, as they are essential for the synthesis of reproductive hormones.
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Can An Eating Disorder Affect Your Fertility
Women who have an eating disorder may have a hard time getting pregnant. Learn how eating disorders interfere with fertility.
Eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating that leads to obesity, can all affect your ability to get pregnant and if you do get pregnant, an eating disorder can make your pregnancy higher-risk.
About 7 million American women have an eating disorder, and many of these women are in their peak childbearing years. Eating disorders, like being anorexic and experiencing severe weight loss, can cause you to stop having regular periods. The absence of your period is medically known as amenorrhea.
“Most often women with anorexia or those who participate in compulsive exercise may suppress their periods. Often in this situation a woman may notice that her menses are lighter or further apart or she may stop menstruating altogether,” says Pamela Berens, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston.
Eating Disorders and Fertility
“In this situation there are changes to the hormonal levels that occur and suppress both ovulation and menstruation. Women who experience amenorrhea may also have osteoporosis and bone loss,” says Dr. Berens.
Eating Disorders and Pregnancy
The risks to a pregnant woman with an eating disorder include:
Risks to the baby include:
- Premature birth
- Feeding problems
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How To Treat Eating Disorders
As well eating disorders treated by dieticians who give the parents a program of appropriate nutrition and food to their children, they should have psychological treatment as well. Here are some treating ways by the national eating disorders association and they are:
1. Nutrition counseling:
The eating disorders diagnosed are often the result of a disturbed relationship with food. Counseling can help to change the way young people relate to food, and teach them how to have a healthy relationship with it. Eating behaviors and attitudes about food are usually assessed and worked on in counseling. It can help change distorted body image, perfectionism, emotional eating, and binge eating disorders behavior.
2. Group or family therapy:
When a parent and young person come together to talk about their relationship with food and feelings, they can gain support and understanding from one another. Therapy for both parents and teens helps them recognize that the eating disorder is not all of who they are as individuals, but something created by their interrelationship. Family relationships with teens also help them to get through emotional problems.
How Do Eating Disorders Affect Fertility
These eating disorders can disrupt the normal reproduction. Of all the causes of infertility, malnutrition, too much exercise, and chronic stress are the avoidable factors.
The reproductive hormones in our body are directly impacted by these factors. This is the reason many women with an eating disorder present with irregular periods, infrequent periods, or a complete loss of menstruation.
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Eating Disorders And Menstruation
A common symptom of anorexia and bulimia are changes in the menstrual period. Disordered eating can lead menstrual cycles to become irregular or missing completely. In fact, the loss of the menstrual period is seen in about 90% of people with anorexia and up to 50% of people with bulimia .
Some studies show that irregular menstruation can impact thyroid health . This makes sense because the thyroid is part of the endocrine system. Remember, the endocrine and reproductive system are linked!
Sink Into The Love And Healing Power Of God
Sinking into the powerful love of God was how I found healing from my eating disorder. God healed my heart and spirit, which gave me the strength and power I needed to overcome the bulimia. My relationship with Jesus changed my self-image I started to experience and live out of the love, grace and compassion of the Holy Spirit. I saw God as my Father, which changed my self-image. And this, in turn, helped me heal from the eating disorder that overshadowed my life for two decades.
Overcoming bulimia didnt help me get pregnant, though! My eating disorder wasnt causing infertility. It was my husbands azoospermia that prevented us from conceiving a baby. We never did get pregnant, but Ive left my eating disorder in the pastand Ive never been happier.
What type of eating disorder are you struggling with? If youre trying to get pregnant, does your husband know about your bulimia or anorexia? If you feel guilty or ashamed, remember that your eating disorder may not be causing infertility. Not being able to get pregnant is just as likely to be a male fertility problem .
If youre looking for practical tips for getting pregnant when you have an eating disorder, read 6 Foods to Avoid When Youre Trying to Get Pregnant.
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Now Lets Talk About The Two Main Types Of Bulimia:
Bingeing-purging bulimia: This accounts for the majority of bulimia cases in which the individual with bulimia may have recurring bingeing cycles followed by purging episodes.
Non-purging bulimia: Those who suffer from this type of bulimia do not engage in self-vomiting practices, misuse of laxatives/enemas/diuretics but will compensate for their bingeing episode by:
- Fasting or extreme food restriction or dieting
- Excessive exercising.
Bulimia can KILL you!
Infertility And Eating Disorders
It is perhaps not surprising that women who are or have a history of an eating disorder, are likely to face difficulty conceiving. Eating disorders have long been associated with infertility, due to the drastic weight changes and hormonal imbalances associated with the disorder. Researchers from Kings College and the University College London have examined data from surveys of more than 11.000 pregnant women, including about 500 with a history of Anorexia, Bulimia or both conditions. This is the largest study of its kind in the UK and findings show that not only did women with a current or history of an eating disorder have more fertility problems, but they are also subject to higher incidences of unplanned pregnancies along with negative feelings about having a child. It is therefore important that these women are offered extra support during the antenatal stage.
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Bulimia Fertility And Pregnancy
Bulimia nervosa, usually abbreviated to bulimia, is an eating disorder in which food obsession becomes the primary coping mechanism during stress situations. Individuals who suffer from bulimia often feel like their entire life is dictated by the need to either eat huge amounts of food in a frenzied manner or to physically get rid of their excessive food intake in an attempt to overcome the effects of their binge.
Link Between Eating Disorders And Infertility
An eating disorder can really affect fertility in a person. The body lacks nutrition and other dietary requirements as it does not get proper food. The body also gets affected by complaints of high blood pressure and diabetes under the influence of heavyweight gain. The strength of the body also diminishes due to the eating disorder. The body is not able to carry the gestation or deliver the baby. It is important for the womb to remain prepared to carry the pregnancy without any chances of miscarriage.
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Eating Disorders And Infertility Often Go Hand In Hand
Eating disorders and infertility both affect millions of people, but thats not the only link they share. Having an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia, can make it more difficult to conceive. Unfortunately, patients can still experience fertility issues, even after receiving treatment for an eating disorder.
There is hope though. The Austin fertility doctors at Texas Fertility Center offer treatments that can make parenthood possible.
How Eating Disorders Impact The Reproductive System
Anorexia, bulimia, and OSFED come with unique physical and mental health challenges. The possible complications vary between the three, and health complications from eating disorders can be serious enough to prove deadly. For example, people with anorexia may experience serious heart problems. In fact, anorexia is considered to be one of the most deadly psychiatric disorders.
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What Happens If Im Infertile As The Result Of An Eating Disorder
The first step for most women seeking fertility assistance as the result of an eating disorder will be to eat a healthy, well-rounded diet and to establish a normal BMI. Counseling may also be recommended if you are still in the throes of the mental and emotional upheaval associated with an eating disorder. These can include things like anxiety, issues around body image, a strong desire to be in control, perfectionism and so on. Working through these states of mind and being now will help you to enjoy your pregnancy as well as the very imperfect and difficult-to-control upheaval that will take place once baby is born!
Once these basics are put into place, and assuming youre 34-years or younger, your doctor will make sure you understand how to time conception at home and then wait for the natural, positive pregnancy results to take place on their own.
If you are 35-years old or more , or if you arent able to get pregnancy using timed intercourse within the first six months, your doctor will begin recommending fertility treatments. Most often, that will commence with Clomid, an oral fertility medication used to trigger ovulation. This is a very mild fertility medication and, when combined with an experienced doctor and the right dose, will probably be the solution assuming there arent any other infertility factors at work.
Does This Mean I Can Never Have A Baby
If you want to become a mother and give the best start in life to your baby, please seek help and FIGHT bulimia now! Since bulimia during pregnancy can greatly endanger your life and that of your baby, it is highly recommended that you recover from bulimia before you try to conceive. Recovery will also help improve your chances of getting pregnant: a healthy diet may normalise your menstrual cycle.
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Learn To Love Your Body Let Your Bump Be Your Source Of Motivation And Inspiration
If you are pregnant and suffer from bulimia, this could be a golden chance for you to recover. Befriend your body, focus on how great a mum your CAN and WILL be. Be kind to yourself and swap your focus from your weight to your health.
Look at any weight gain as recovery weight and a sign that your baby will be healthy.
Take one step at a time, and savour this special moment in your life to the fullest
What Do Eating Disorders Have To Do With Fertility
As mentioned earlier in this article, our fertility relies on getting in the right amounts of the right foods and materials we need to sustain ourselves. Therefore its not surprising that anyone who is eating too much or too little will suffer health repercussions that extend to their fertility.
Eating disorders are strongly related to stress, depression, and anxiety, all three of which are proven to lower fertility and sex drive, making it very difficult to conceive. This becomes a vicious cycle as not being able to conceive can cause more of these feelings which worsen the situation.
The poor diet of bulimia and anorexia will eventually take its toll on the body. Common infertility issues that are a consequence of these conditions are:
- Amenorrhea the loss of periods and hence the regular monthly cycle which involves ovulation, the process by which an egg is made ready for fertilisation and pregnancy.
- Ovarian failure the failure of the ovary to provide an egg for fertilisation.
- Diminished egg and sperm quality.
- Low sperm count and motility.
- A womb which isnt suited to pregnancy and child bearing.
Excessive overeating and the resulting weight gain can also seriously affect fertility. Too many fat cells within the body disrupts the balance of hormones required to keep the menstrual cycle regular and efficient.
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Eating Disorders And Physiological State
Even though fertility could also be reduced, some women with uptake disorders do get pregnant. Your body can then would like exaggerated amounts of nutrients, like carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals, to support the expansion of a baby, thus women with uptake disorders and their babies square measure each in danger. If you have such a health disorder and you are sexually active or considering physiological state, the most effective time to induce treatment for your eating disorder is before you become pregnant.
The risks to a pregnant lady associated with eating disorders include:
4. Feeding issues
The good news is that in women with uptake disorders like eating disorder, regular periods can sometimes resume inside six months of achieving ideal weight. Fertility might then be resumed also.
If you are combating associate upset, consult your health care supplier. Many women with uptake disorders get facilitate by meeting with an expert and by seeking individual and psychotherapy. If you are doing become pregnant, schedule associate early antenatal visit and let your doctor realize your condition. Most females are associated with eating disorders will still have a healthy baby if they will eat a well-balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight throughout their physiological state.
How Does Bulimia Affect Pregnancy
Bulimia during pregnancy can cause the following problems:
- Compulsive eating may cause excessive weight gain during pregnancy which could lead to the onset of gestational diabetes mellitus or pre-eclampsia .
- Poor nutritional status, especially if you purge or exercise excessively, which may cause miscarriage, still-birth, post-partum depression and difficulties in breastfeeding.
- Complications during delivery: a caesarean section might be necessary.
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What Are The Signs Of Eating Disorders
According to a mental health professional, hiding food, a lose weight, gaining weight, stick with physical appearance all are common eating disorders signs off in early adulthood. The risk factors of other eating disorders include troubled family dynamics, depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, physical illness with associated weight gain. Here below we have discussed some common teen eating disorders signs and they are:
1. Skipping meals:
Its a sign of eating disorders in teens and an unhealthy lifestyle which is also associated with teenagers. Especially in teenage girls, it can be dangerous for their health. Binge eating to gain weight is also common among female teenagers who want to become obese. They eat a lot in a short period and it can be harmful to their health.
2. Obsession with body shapes:
Though teenage boys and girls usually have an obsession with body shapes. If a female teenager starts exercise excessively or makes their routine different for this purpose that is considered as one of the symptoms of an eating disorder. This could lead to mental health issues and repeated episodes of binge eating.
3. Dry or scaly skin:
4. Amenorrhea or infertility:
5. Excessive exercise and frequent weight check:
6. Constantly dieting:
Community Discussion Share Your Thoughts Here
As you have recovered from anorexia, is infertility something you struggle with? If so, what helped you get through the process of trying to conceive?
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How Does Bingeing Harm Me
Usually, food eaten would be high-fat/sugar/calories , which can lead to:
- Excessive body fat accumulation: linked to type II diabetes, gall bladder disease and certain type of cancers.
- Overweight and obesity: related to high blood pressure, muscle and joint pain, increased bone brittleness.
- Gallbladder diseases, high blood cholesterol and heart diseases.
- Various types of digestive disorders.
- The binge typically occurs in secret and is often followed by feelings of disgust, shame, or depression which may lead to purging or substance abuse or suicidal attempts.
Negative Effects Of Poor Nutrition
Diet plays an important role in ascertaining a womans ability to become pregnant and carry the pregnancy term successfully. Continuous poor nutrition negatively affects the fertility of a woman and causes risk to the pregnancy. An unhealthy body can be a major risk to both mother and fetus.
Women coming for fertility treatment should undergo an assessment for any history of eating disorders. In case they have experienced repeated weight loss in the past, they should consider a standard health care for eating disorder before the infertility treatment. As a matter of fact, the infertility treatment should not be initiated unless the eating disorder is addressed properly.
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Does Having An Eating Disorder Impact Your Pregnancy
Here, well talk about some of the pregnancy outcomes that have been studied in relation to eating disorders that have received the most research attention.
Miscarriage: Theres some data that suggests people with ovaries who have either current or past anorexia report more miscarriages as compared to those with no history of eating disorders. The fact that people with a past history of anorexia are at increased risk for miscarriage may be because people with a history of anorexia have lower BMIs on average , and low BMI is associated with higher miscarriage risk in general. That being said, findings here are inconsistent not all studies report associations between present or past anorexia, as well as present or past bulimia, and miscarriage.
Some data points to a link between binge eating disorder and miscarriage. Its possible that the link between miscarriage and binge eating disorder is also tied to BMI: People with binge eating disorder on average have higher BMIs than the general population, and high BMI is associated with higher miscarriage risk.
Perinatal mortality: In pregnant people with active anorexia, some studies suggest no differences in perinatal mortality , and others suggest significant increases. Some also suggest that people with past anorexia, but not people with past bulimia or binge eating disorder, are also at higher risk for infant mortality.