Are Eating Disorders Detrimental to Female Fertility?

According to a study, women who suffer from eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia may be doing serious damage to their chances of getting pregnant. Researchers from the U.K. asked 11,088 pregnant women to complete a questionnaire 12 and 18 weeks into their attempts to get pregnant. Among the women questioned, 171 had suffered from anorexia at some point in their lives. Also of that total, 199 had bulimia and another 82 experienced both anorexia and bulimia.

Based on the results, it was noted that a larger number of women with eating disorders took over six months to conceive a child compared to those with no history of eating disorders. Further, women with anorexia or bulimia were more than twice as likely to have received treatment or help to get pregnant, 6.2 percent vs. 2.7 percent.

"This research highlights that there are risks to fertility associated with eating disorders. However, the high rates of unplanned pregnancies in women with a history of anorexia suggest that women may be underestimating their chances of conceiving," lead author Abigail Easter, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, said in a college news release.

"Women planning a pregnancy should ideally seek treatment for their eating disorder symptoms prior to conception and health professionals should be aware of eating disorders when assessing fertility and providing treatment for this," she added.

Source: BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics
Photo: Pixabay

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