Eating disorders and infertility have a complex relationship
When looking at the statistics, eating disorders and infertility have something in common. They both affect millions of people. However, that’s not all that links them. Fertility issues are frequently one of the long-term consequences of having an eating disorder. This is true for both women and men. However, it’s still possible to welcome a baby, even if you have or have had an eating disorder. Our San Antonio fertility expert, Erika Munch MD, explains how.
Why do eating disorders cause infertility, and how can patients overcome it?
When a woman isn’t getting enough calories, her body weight decreases. If it drops too much, she can stop ovulating and having regular periods. After a woman receives treatment for an eating disorder and begins gaining weight, her periods will often resume. However, ovulation might not return on its own.
Some parts of the brain may still not be properly communicating, causing the brain to not release the hormones that are essential for ovulation and pregnancy. When this occurs, our San Antonio fertility expert has tools to help.
- Fertility medications like Clomid or Femara can help with ovulation issues.
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI) can place sperm directly in the uterus for couples with mild male factor infertility.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF) can combine sperm and eggs in a laboratory before transferring one of the resulting embryos to the uterus. IVF treats a variety of both female and male infertility issues.
Before developing a treatment plan, Dr. Munch will perform diagnostic testing and review your medical history. This information will help her determine the exact causes of your infertility and how to treat them, allowing you to conceive and have a healthy baby.
Body image can become an issue again
Even after overcoming eating disorders and infertility, body image issues can reemerge. The bodily changes that occur with pregnancy can cause women to fall into old thought and behavior patterns, including restricting food intake, cutting calories and engaging in excessive exercise.
To help avoid this situation, Dr. Munch recommends that you work with a counselor throughout your pregnancy. He or she can help you explore and cope with the emotional challenges that pop up during pregnancy and the postpartum period. It’s important to remember that you aren’t alone in this.
If you’d like to learn about treatments to help with eating disorders and infertility, contact us for an appointment. Our San Antonio fertility expert is here to help.Tweet