Can An Eating Disorder Result In Fertility Issues?

If you are a woman and thinking about having a baby, there may be nothing more heartbreaking than learning you aren’t pregnant after spending considerable time trying to conceive. Whether you have been actively trying to conceive for a few months or a few years, each negative pregnancy test can strike up a wide range of emotions, from sadness to frustration and much more.

Infertility is a genuine struggle that many women go through and it can be defined as the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after twelve months of trying to conceive.

Know you’re Not Alone!

To start with, it’s important to know that you’re not in this battle to conceive all alone. About 10 percent of the population has struggled with infertility and this is something that will touch a person regardless of race, gender, socio-economic status or any other factor.

What if you are trying to conceive after recovering from anorexia?
You may wonder if your past battle with anorexia has anything to do with why you can’t conceive a baby. A person may think their anorexia may have a negative impact on their ability to conceive, because it causes so many physical problems, emotional distress and fear.

One of the consequences of an eating disorder like anorexia is amenorrhea or an abnormal absence of menstruation. This means a woman has missed at least three periods in a row or a girl may not have started to menstruate by the age of 15. Amenorrhea could be the result of a woman or girl having body fat that falls below the recommended threshold and it can be due to anorexia.

Essentially what happens is that the body of an anorexic woman realizes it doesn’t have the necessary nutrients to support a developing infant and normal menses will cease. Once her body has healed, the menstrual cycle will resume and her chances of conceiving will become much higher.

There’s Hope!

It may still be hard for a woman to conceive a baby after recovering from anorexia, but it’s not impossible. It may be necessary for you and your partner to see a reproduction specialist because there might be other issues with either you or your partner that could be playing a role in your inability to conceive.

Many medical intervention exist today to help an infertile couple conceive a baby, including hormonal therapy and in-vitro fertilization, among many others.


It’s good to know that some women could ovulate before the return of their normal menstrual cycle, which can lead to a chance for conceiving prior to having a normal period. If you are actively engaged in an eating disorder or newly recovered, it’s important to take protective measures to safeguard your fertility in case you ever wish to have a child in the future.

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

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