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when will period return - should I be concerned?

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Old 04-22-2007, 10:26 AM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: uk
Posts: 4
tigertegan HB User
when will period return - should I be concerned?

Hi there,

I used to be anorexic - with excessive over-exercising.

For me it started late 2003, and that's when my periods stopped. The danger zone (I won't go into figures, but it was near-fatal) lasted from May 2004 until Dec 2005. In the year and a half since then I have (thankfully) managed to be a "normal" stable weight.

My reason for posting is my long-term health worries. I take Calcium, Vitamin D and Cod Liver Oil for my bones which has helped considerably. I also take a multi-vitamin just to top up.

My concern however, is that my periods have never returned... even though I am actually slightly heavier than I was before all this happened.

1) Is it possible they will never return?
2) Is is important a woman has period? If I didn't want children does it matter that I don't have them?
3) What if I did want children one day? Have I blown all chances of this?

Any words of advice much appreciated (I find a distinct lack in help from my doctor now that I am out of the dangerously thin category).


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Old 04-22-2007, 12:28 PM   #2
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: TX
Posts: 1,358
livinTX HB User
Re: when will period return - should I be concerned?

I got my period back about 3 months after getting to a healthy stable weight (without any ED habits). If your weight is stable, but you're still engaging in ED habits--irregular eating, purging, overexercise, that can still cause your cycles to be wacky. Most people who lose their periods from an ED do have them return unless you have gone extreme stretches of time without a period--longer than a couple of years, the longer your period is gone, sometimes the harder it is to get it to return.

Otherwise, there are non-ED reasons that may cause your periods to stay away. I would suggest visiting a gynecologist. One of the most common causes for absent periods is PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome--these women tend to only rarely ovulate on their own). Thyroid imbalances can also cause issues with your cycles. It is possible you may just need to jumpstart your cycles by going on birth control pills (if you choose) for a couple of months or there is a prescription the doctor can give you for a progesterone medication called Provera that should cause you to have a period, with the hopes that afterwards, your natural cycles will be restored. I'd ask if the gynecologist could test your hormone levels--estrogen, progesterone, prolactin, FSH, and LH as well as your thyroid levels to see if there's any problems. Hormonal imbalances can cause your periods to be MIA as well. If a gynecologist won't test your hormone levels (they should, but if not), consult an endocrinologist.

It is not good to not have a period for long lengths of time. It really increases the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures as a result.

I don't think you've completely blown your chances of having a child some day. I did lose my periods for over a year due to anorexia and am now pregnant and didn't even have issues becoming pregnant (conceived on the 2nd cycle trying). I do think it is important you find answers to your problem; it is possible that it's no longer the ED keeping your periods away but some other issue.

Good luck! I hope you can find some answers.

Last edited by livinTX; 04-22-2007 at 12:33 PM.

Old 04-22-2007, 12:33 PM   #3
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: London
Posts: 32
Sparklybeck HB User
Re: when will period return - should I be concerned?


I haven't had a period since February last year, which isn't as long as you, and I'm not even underweight for my height -I began exercising a lot last year and did lose a lot of weight and developed an ED, and I went to the doctor's and they did blood tests and all th tests they do, and apparently my ovaries are 'resting' (!) whatever that means. But she said that if they hadn't started again by next month, I was to go again and they'd do more tests. The point is your doctor should be taking you seriously - get him or her to do more tests and to see if there's anything they can do to 'jump start' them, which is what my doctor suggested for me.
I'm also worried about infertility, but if you're at a normal weight now and are taking vitamins, they should return. It's amazing how long it takes the body to adjust to some things. There's no reason why yours shouldn't return.
I'm sorry, I don't know if this has been very helpful, but definitely get your doctor to take you seriously - but I'm sure that if you're at a good weight now, they'll turn up eventually - even if it does seem like a ridiculously long time!

Old 04-22-2007, 02:20 PM   #4
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 937
LS289 HB User
Re: when will period return - should I be concerned?

I wouldn't worry too much yet. It can often take a while for your body to trust you again and to believe that you will continue to allow it enough food/fat to survive/reproduce. If you think about it, it totally makes sense. Your body is designed to host an entirely new human being every single month, if you were to choose to do so (by becoming pregnant). It has to trust that, for nine months, you will feed it, nourish it, and not abuse it, as you were for so long. Until all of your hormones and everything is completely in line, your period will most likely not return. I would still try to eat more omega-3s and healthy fats and to eat regularly to keep up your healthy habits (do NOT return to your ed habits, pleeeeease!!), but don't freak out yet.

Also, I definitely think you should consider getting a second opinion from a doctor. This could mean being fertile or not and you definitely want to make sure you are doing everything you can.

On a lighter note, congratulations on your recovery! You must be a very strong/incredible individual. It takes a lot to overcome and eating disorder.

Take care!


Old 04-23-2007, 12:54 PM   #5
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: uk
Posts: 4
tigertegan HB User
Re: when will period return - should I be concerned?

I just wanted to thank you all so much for your kind words... LS289 you almost brought tears to my eyes with your last paragraph - nobody has ever actually praised me for getting where I am today.

I joined this group specifically to ask this question, but it's such a weight of my shoulders just to bounce ideas around, I'm definitely going to stick around. I also hope one day I can help others who are in the place I was a couple of years ago. God I wish I could :/

Thank you all so much.

Old 04-24-2007, 03:15 PM   #6
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Poquoson, Virginia
Posts: 18
cmorg011 HB User
Re: when will period return - should I be concerned?

Hello group- how is everyone?

I stumbled across this group while participating in another on this website- the one for Osteoporosis. I am a recovering anorexic (was bulimic for ~9 months) and am FINALLY returning to the person that I "used to be." (I think?) My weight went up and down for a long time- got pretty scary... you know. Any way, this thread in particular caught my attention:

As an initially pleasant "side-effect" of being underweight and malnourished for so long, I went without menstruating for ~4 years. This past November, I got "on the road to recovery" by teaming up with a counselor, nutritionist, and an excellent physician in my area- I can not explain how effective this has been for me. Unfortunately, I have not escaped my ED untouched: my physician was very concerned about my lack of periods, lack of good nutrition, etc. and ordered a bone scan. Turns out that I have osteoporosis of the spine (-2.6) and hip (-2.5). Basically, the bones of an elderly woman at 22 years old.

For those in this group who are experiencing or have experienced a lack of mensturation for any significant amount of time, I would REALLY recommend talking to your physician about ordering a DEXA bone scan if you can: the sooner we discover problems like these, the better our chances of overcoming them. Really.

Please know that I am not trying to "add problems" to your worlds, guys- I am just trying to share with you my personal experience of the devastating consequences that an ED can have on your body. It really sucks to know that I, through my coping mechanism, did this to myself. I pray that all of you will not have to face the same regret.

Please post-back if you guys have any Qs or Cs- I am a normal weight now, and feel like I have (hopefully) beaten my ED for good. Like you tigertegan, am desperate to help anyone, everyone that I can from experiencing the what I have. EDs ARE BEATABLE GUYS!!!- YOU, WE CAN DO THIS!!! You are all doing GREAT- you have made a remarkable first step. Know that.

Last edited by cmorg011; 04-24-2007 at 03:18 PM.

Old 04-25-2007, 08:32 AM   #7
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 1,146
MariaBB HB User
Re: when will period return - should I be concerned?

That's scary stuff, Sparklybeck. For a while I argued with my therapist that I did not have an ED because I did not have all of the symptoms - including lack of menstration. Recently I've been making a conscious effort to try and eat more (healthy) calories, but I still go to the gym a lot. I was expecting my period last week, and I'm still waiting. This is the first time I've ever been late. I know I'm not pregnant, and my low calorie intake is probably to blame, but I was wondering if it could be anything else. As I said, I am trying to consume more calories and slowly work my way up to a healthy diet. Did it take awhile of restrictive eating before your's stopped? I plan to continue working on my caloric intake, but I was curious if this could be caused by anything else. I'm not advocating an ED lifestyle, this is a serious question about my health.

Last edited by MariaBB; 04-25-2007 at 08:35 AM.

Old 04-26-2007, 08:24 AM   #8
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 1,146
MariaBB HB User
Re: when will period return - should I be concerned?

Sorry for the false alarm, I was a just a week late.

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