Eating disorders and infertility

Submitted by Shelby D Burns Tue 11/19/2013

Women with eating disorders are less likely to have children than others in their age group. This is according to a new Finnish study.

Variety of reproductive problems

The difference is most pronounced among those women with anorexia nervosa. For that subgroup, the number of pregnancies is half the rate of women without an eating disorder.

The study also found that the likelihood of abortion was more than double for women with bulimia. They also found that the incidence of miscarriage occurred more than trip for binge-eating disorder sufferers.

Early treatment helps with reproductive disorders “Early recognition, effective care and sufficiently long follow-up periods for eating disorders are crucial in the prevention of reproductive health problems,” said researcher Milla Linna from the University of Helsinki Hjelt Institute. About 5-10% of women in developed countries suffer from some type of eating disorder.

No conclusions , plenty of theories on what causes the reproductive problems The 15-year register-based study looked at the reproductive health of patients treated at an eating disorder clinic in Helsinki and a control group. More than 11,000 women participated in the study.

“This study does not provide an explanation for the reproduction health problems observed in women with eating disorders. Based on previous research, however, it seems likely that the problems can at least partially be attributed to the eating disorder.

Both being underweight and obese are known to be associated with the increased risk of infertility and miscarriage. Eating disorders also often involve menstrual irregularities or the absence of menstruation which may lead to neglecting contraception and ultimately to unwanted pregnancies,” Linna theorized.

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