How eating disorders impact ovulation

People belonging to all age groups tend to suffer from eating disorders. Did you know? The effects of eating disorders have an impact on a woman’s reproductive health and fertility. Yes, you heard that right! In the article below, we tell you how suffering from an eating disorder will mess with your ovulation process. Read this article and seek help if you too have been diagnosed with any eating disorder. Neglecting your health is a strict no no.

It’s a no-brainer that an eating disorder has a negative effect on one’s physiology. The physical disruption will also take a toll on reproduction. There are several types of eating disorders that can steal one’s peace of mind. Anorexia nervosa is seen when there are restricted eating habits due to the fear of gaining weight and also distorted body image. Bulimia nervosa is binge eating, feeling that one cannot control while eating. These eating disorders can cause irregular or absent ovulation, which can reduce the chances of conception.

How do eating disorders affect ovulation?

• Those women who have eating disorders have higher chances of miscarriage and even low birth weight. This is because women are prone to nutritional hazards and suffer from amenorrhoea (no menstrual cycles) or oligomenorrhoea (irregular menstrual cycles), which lead to problems during conception.

• One with anorexia will have irregular ovulation and periods may become irregular or stop altogether. Anorexia is linked to a decrease in the hormone leptin which is responsible for regulating the activity of the hypothalamus in the brain, and thus the production of hormones such as luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) which are essential for ovulation , control. Low levels of leptin affect the activity of the hypothalamus and reduce the levels of these hormones that cause irregular ovulation.

• Anorexia, bulimia and binge eating can cause unhealthy weight, poor nutrition and also low levels of body fat. These disorders affect the woman’s endocrine system (which is responsible for the production of reproductive and growth hormones), disrupt ovulation and lead to menstrual problems. Furthermore, the egg quality will be poor and there may also be ovarian failure. A woman will therefore not be able to get pregnant or there will be a miscarriage when a woman gets pregnant.

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Women with eating disorders who want to get pregnant should follow these essential tips:

• Go for counseling or take therapy to get over your eating disorder because you can experience stress, anxiety and depression as a result.

• Talk to your gynecologist before pregnancy as he/she can guide you by helping with an appropriate treatment plan.

• Take the help of a nutritionist who will give you a better understanding of how to eat.

• Try to follow a healthy pre-pregnancy diet, and have prenatal vitamins you need to get pregnant and carry a baby.

The author is Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar

(Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author’s own and do not reflect those of DNA)

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