Eating disorders can cause several health issues, including difficulty getting pregnant. This can be true whether you’re struggling with the disorder or have been in recovery for years. Women with a history of eating disorders are almost twice as likely to seek medical assistance for infertility concerns compared with the general population.
Eating disorders encompass different conditions, such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder, each characterized by distinct behaviors and symptoms. Anorexia nervosa involves severe calorie restriction. Bulimia nervosa includes episodes of binge eating followed by purging, and binge-eating disorder consists of recurrent episodes of overeating without purging behaviors.
Regardless of which eating disorder someone has, it can have detrimental effects on fertility due to multiple factors. Insufficient nutrition resulting from eating disorders can lead to deficiencies of vital nutrients required for proper reproductive function. This can adversely affect egg quality and hormone synthesis, leading to reduced fertility. Irregular or absent menstrual cycles often experienced by individuals with eating disorders indicate disrupted ovulation, making conception more challenging.
The repercussions of eating disorders on fertility can persist beyond the active phase of the disorder. Research indicates that women seeking infertility treatment often have a history of eating disorders, which suggests difficulties in conceiving. Overcoming eating disorders is crucial for improving fertility and increasing the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy. Therefore, it is essential to seek professional help and comprehensive care.
To improve fertility and support a healthy pregnancy, proactive steps must be taken. Adopting a nutritious and well-balanced diet, rich in essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, is vital for enhancing fertility. Consulting your doctor and/or a nutritionist can provide personalized guidance. Additionally, taking prenatal vitamins, particularly those containing folic acid, helps ensure adequate nutrient intake and reduces the risk of birth defects. Staying well-hydrated by consuming sufficient fluids, primarily water, is crucial for reproductive health and overall well-being.
Consulting with an OB-GYN is crucial for individuals with a history of eating disorders. Openly discussing the eating disorder history and concerns allow an OB-GYN to assess potential impacts on fertility and offer appropriate guidance. OB-GYNs can provide specialized care tailored to the needs of individuals with eating disorders, facilitating a healthier reproductive journey.
– Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, PC has seven OB-GYNs and five advanced practice providers, with offices in Canton and Woodstock.